Sunday Apr 10, 2022

In Conversation with Sun-ha Hong

Christopher Hobson speaks with Sun-ha Hong, a scholar critically analysing the claims of big data. Hong’s work fits within the framing of this series, given his emphasis on the considerable imperfections present in data and the way it is used, along with the dangers that come from taking it as objective truth about how the world really ‘is’. Rather, he points to a much more tawdry but intuitively plausible state of affairs, whereby imperfect humans produce imperfect technologies.

One of the powerful ideas that comes through this conversation - and Hong’s writing - is that the vision of the future provided by Silicon Valley is actually rather conservative and banal, displaying an inability to think in genuinely creative and different ways. The lure of big data may actually impede our capacity to tackle fundamental questions of meaning and value.

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This episode has been produced with support from a grant by the Toshiba International Foundation.

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