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Mathematics for Social Activism

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Uppsala

Ångstrom laboatory

752 37 Uppsala

Sweden

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Monday 4th & Tuesday 5th June 2018
Ångström Laboratory, Uppsala University

From Facebook to job evaluations, mathematics now plays an important part in every aspect of our social lives. And, increasingly, mathematicians are actively using their skills to improve society. Examples include finding the geneology of far-right extremism; quantifying gerrymandering (the adjustment of electoral districts to benefit certain political powers); understanding voting patterns; setting socio-economic development targets and analysing how Facebook classifies people. Behind these projects are some advanced mathematical and statistical tools, including singular value decomposition, representations of words as vectors, neural networks and methods for Artificial Intelligence. There is also an increased movement to use mathematics in public communication, both through statistics and articles explaining how data science methods work. There are however dangers and challenges. Google Flu turned out to a spectacular example of confusing correlation for causation. Some algorithms can make biased decisions against minorities, despite the best intentions of the creators.

This meeting brings together academics, amateurs and data journalists interested in how we can use models and data to improve the world, and how we can avoid making mistakes as algorithms increasingly dominate our lives.

Talks

The mathematics of gerrymandering: much more complicated than you might think
Mira Bernstein (Mathematics, Tufts University)

Title: to be confirmed
John Burn-Murdoch (Data journalist, Financial Times)

Human vs. Machine: Do recidivism algorithms outperform human judgement?
Julia Dressel (Computer science, Dartmouth College)

Title: to be confirmed
Ryan Dunn (Department of Work and Pensions, Newcastle)

Platform Owner versus Algorithm: Distortions of Communicative Capital as Possibilities for Activism
Athina Karatzogianni (Media & Communication, University of Leceister)

Reward the rebels, but only when they are right: how to use incentives to boost the wisdom of crowds
Richard Mann (Mathematics, University of Leeds)

Blockchain, Bots, and the Future of Democracy
Saiph Savage (Computer Science, West Virginia University)

Revolutions stuck on Twitter: What can data analytics of Twitter data teach us about failed revolutions and political change?
Viktoria Spaiser (Political Science, University of Leeds)

Details vs Overview: When to add and when to remove data from your visualization.
Lisa Charlotte Rost (DataWrapper, Berlin)

What Causes Inequality in Social Groups? How the structure and rules of social interaction can increase wealth inequality.
Milena Tsvetkova (Computational Social Science, London School of Economics)

In addition to the talks there will be discussions and other creative activities. Full timetable will be available at the start of May.

The workshop is free for participants (lunch and coffee breaks on both days included), but registration is necessary. Non-local (i.e. non-Uppsala) parcipants should register using Everbrite. You will have to cover your own travel and accommodation to the event. Note limited number of places.

We will contact you at the start of May to confirm participation.

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Uppsala

Ångstrom laboatory

752 37 Uppsala

Sweden

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