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Data LivesHow Data Are Made and Shape Our World$
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Rob Kitchin

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781529215144

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529215144.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 30 June 2022

Blind Data

Blind Data

(p.17) 2 Blind Data
Data Lives

Rob Kitchin

Policy Press

This chapter details a blind date between two researchers who have very different notions about the nature of data and the ethos and practices of science. One is an electronic engineer, while the other is an anthropologist. The anthropologist studies how digital technology is built and used, examining the politics and praxes of some start-up companies who were developing new apps. Meanwhile, the electronic engineer works on a sound-sensing network for monitoring and modelling background noise across the city. The chapter then looks at their debate on data creation and collection. The anthropologist makes a point about scientific practice, arguing that the electronic engineer is practising mechanical objectivity — trying to minimize biases, errors, calibration issues, and so on — but it is still set up in their vision, based on their education and experience, and compromising for circumstance. Thus, they are still making choices that influence the outcome.

Keywords:   data, researchers, science, digital technology, data creation, data collection, scientific practice, mechanical objectivity

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