Algorithms, Ontology, and Social Progress
Forthcoming, Global Media and Communication: special issue on the International Panel on Social Progress Report (August, 2018).
13 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2018 Last revised: 28 Mar 2022
Date Written: January 23, 2018
Recently, media and communication researchers have shown an increasing interest in critical data studies and ways to utilize data for social progress. In this commentary, I highlight several useful contributions in the International Panel on Social Progress’ (IPSP) report toward identifying key data justice issues, before suggesting extra focus on algorithmic discrimination and implicit bias. Following my assessment of the IPSP’s report, I emphasize the importance of two emerging media and communication areas – data ontology and semantic technology – that impact internet users daily yet receive limited attention from critical data researchers. I illustrate two examples to show how data ontologies and semantic technologies impact social processes by engaging in the hierarchization of social relations and entities, a practice that will become more common as the internet changes states towards a “smarter” version of itself.
Keywords: data ontology, semantic technology, datafication, dataveillance, algorithms, data justice
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