Looking for our data mirror image

Do you know exactly which data is collected from you and who does it? You might get useful tips while shopping online, move more through a smartwatch or promote your business via Instagram. But maybe you also know the downsides of data collection and you are concerned about what large companies know about you, or the tax authorities wrongly see you as a fraud because of the data it has about you. In any case, the collection, processing and use of data has been increasing for years and affects our lives.

A look into our digital world.

That is cause for an investigation. At the same time as the museum exhibition Bits of You In The Studio of NEMO Science Museum, NEMO Kennislink starts the theme Your data and you. In the coming months, we will investigate the influence of data on our lives. We look at the ‘digital mirror image’ of people of flesh and blood and examine the technology behind them.

The data world sometimes seems like a cluttered jungle. There are tons of information about us and countless algorithms that process this data, and based on it make decisions that in turn affect our lives. We look at the influence and use of big data from ten people. Such as the 93-year-old ‘comfortable’ Cees, who communicates remotely with his (grand)children thanks to technology, ‘pedometer’ Pieter, who does much more sports because of his smartwatch and ‘marginalized’ Sarah, whose life was derailed by an automated decision by the tax authorities. But our research goes further. How does data discriminate? How do algorithms get to know you and make choices for you? And how can we further digitize healthcare in a good way in the future?

Unique collaboration

In the exhibition Bits of you in The Studio of NEMO Science Museum you can discover and experience for yourself which data is collected from you and how this influences your life. Together with the museum, we dive deep into this theme and we also organize a program with lectures, city walks and workshops.

Such a collaboration between a museum exhibition and a journalistic platform is unique in the Netherlands. Both have their own working methods and perspectives. We are convinced that the combination of these worlds ensures that we can illuminate the data avalanche rolling through our society from as many sides as possible. That’s important because this isn’t just a technological matter, it’s about what role it plays in our lives. It’s about all of us.

At the start of this theme you will find ten experience stories of people for whom data has or had a major influence on their lives. Based on their stories, we, editors Roel van der Heijden and Robert Visscher, dive deeper into the world of data and algorithms.

To kick off, we wrote a diptych about e-health (part 1 and part 2) in response to the experiences of Pieter and Stan, a Q&A about algorithms in response to the discrimination experienced by Sarah and Marjolein, a background article about the influence of social media on the mental well-being of young people after the struggles of Jesse and Kelly, and a timeline showing the developments in data storage and processing during the life of Cees (93). In the coming period we will dive even deeper and report extensively on what we discover. How well do you know your own data mirror image?

In the theme Your data and you, NEMO Kennislink collaborates with NEMO in the exhibition Bits of You. This exhibition for adults, in which you experience how the data traces we leave behind influence our lives, can be seen until January 9, 2022 in De Studio van NEMO on the Marineterrein in Amsterdam.

Source: Kennislink by www.nemokennislink.nl.

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