Data Ex Machina: Introduction to Big Data

Posted: 14 Aug 2017

See all articles by David Lazer

David Lazer

Northeastern University - Department of Political Science; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

J. Radford

University of Chicago - Department of Sociology; Northeastern University - Network Science Institute

Date Written: July 2017

Abstract

Social life increasingly occurs in digital environments and continues to be mediated by digital systems. Big data represents the data being generated by the digitization of social life, which we break down into three domains: digital life, digital traces, and digitalized life. We argue that there is enormous potential in using big data to study a variety of phenomena that remain difficult to observe. However, there are some recurring vulnerabilities that should be addressed. We also outline the role institutions must play in clarifying the ethical rules of the road. Finally, we conclude by pointing to a number of nascent but important trends in the use of big data.

Suggested Citation

Lazer, David and Radford, Jason, Data Ex Machina: Introduction to Big Data (July 2017). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 43, pp. 19-39, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3018074 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-060116-053457

David Lazer (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-2796 (Phone)
617-373-5311 (Fax)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Taubman Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-0102 (Phone)
617-496-1722 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.davidlazer.com

Jason Radford

University of Chicago - Department of Sociology

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Northeastern University - Network Science Institute

177 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02115
United States

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