Data for the Public Good: Uses and Abuses of Data in Society  Winter 2024

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Class Details

This class, accessible to statisticians and non-statisticians alike, will explore some of the many uses (and abuses) of data, statistics, and algorithms in society. We will discuss topics such as how our view of the world both informs and is formed by the data we collect and present; how to understand data in context; how algorithms intended to reduce bias have in several situations—criminal justice, credit and insurance, employment, and more—had the opposite effect of perpetuating human biases; and ways in which we might work with data more ethically and responsibly. We will meet three times a week for two-hour sessions as a group. Students will be asked to complete readings in advance and write short reflections before each class. The class will also involve a final project in which students investigate the use of data or statistics in an area of their choice and present their findings to their classmates (orally, through a short paper, or through designing a website).
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 1317
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: readings and written reflections; class participation; final project resulting in a presentation, short paper, or student-designed website
Prerequisites: an introductory statistics course (Stat 101/161/201/202) or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: short application form/statement of interest, with priority given to having a group of students with diverse (prospective) majors and levels of experience in statistics

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