Data is everywhere—nearly anything can be represented by a number. In its simple form, data tells a story backed by numerical truth. But data is rarely simple or pure—and we have access to more data than any time in history.
So how can we make sense of this never-ending wave? And how can we better understand data and use it solve real-world problems? In this Slice of MIT podcast, recorded at the 2015 South by Southwest Interactive festival, five MIT alumni discuss how their work and research are tackling these questions in innovative ways. (Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.)
You’ll hear how five-star ratings online are driven by social identity; how designers are mapping data to improve major U.S. cities; how data can affect privacy and though stagnation; and how a Jeopardy!-winning computer is discover new recipes like Italian-Pumpkin Cheesecake. (Read the “Art of Data” transcript.)
Featured MIT Alumni
Professor Sinan Aral PhD ’07 (@sinanaral)
Professor of Management, MIT Sloan; Chief Scientist, Humin
Aral is an expert on social networks, social media, and digital strategy who has worked with Facebook, Yahoo, the New York Times, and Nike.
Denise Cheng SM ’14 (@hiDenise)
Peer Economy Expert
Cheng is an expert in civic technology and the peer economy. She has been featured in Harvard Business Review and on NPR.
Tiffany Chu ’10 (@tchu88)
Chu is a cofounder of the transit planning tool Remix. She has worked at Code for America, Zipcar, and Pixar Animation Studios.
Jacquelyn Martino PhD ’06 (@jamartino)
Martino works in the IBM Watson Group, where she helps Chef Watson brings cognitive computing to consumers.
Matt Stempeck SM ’13 (@mstem)
Director of Civic Technology, Microsoft
Stempeck leads Microsoft’s strategic outreach. He has designed technologies for civic impact at non-profits, startups, and consultancies.
Chef Watson* (@IBMWatson)
Watson is a computer best known for winning $1 million on Jeopardy! More recently, he helps consumers develop creative recipes.
*—Not an MIT alumnus/ae.
Listen to podcast above or on the Alumni Association’s SoundCloud page, or read the transcript. And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and rate the podcast and leave a review. Tweet your thoughts on this episode to @mit_alumni.
This podcast was produced in association with MIT’s Comparative Media Studies/Writing. For more data-related topics at MIT, visit cmsw.mit.edu/data.