Countless petabytes of data produced online each day let researchers, marketers and governments build data sets of staggering variety and detail. They know who bought what. They know when it was bought. And they can infer why.
But how often do we stop and ponder the implications of the data we’re collecting — and the data we’re not collecting?
Data sets can help boost profits. They can also fight inequality and empower democracy. But too often they don’t, according to Mimi Onuoha. Onuoha is the artist behind “The Library of Missing Data Sets,” an installation at The Glass Room.
Onuoha spotlights data sets that might enable positive social progress — if only they existed. At The Glass Room, each is given a faux manilla folder and tucked into a plain white filing cabinet.
Among those imaginary indexes:
- Accurate birth registration data in Rwanda
- Location-specific data on degradation of land
- Proportion of traded wildlife illegally poached
- Employment statistics that include those in federal prisons
The internet is a tool of unprecedented power — and Onuoha spotlights how that power can be squandered, rather than focused on the public good.
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