How Industry Can Help Advance Computational Social Science

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What role should industry play as big data is increasingly used for social science research?

In this second video synthesizing some of the important themes covered at 2016’s second International Conference on Computational Social Science, or IC2S2, three practitioners from businesses born of the computer era address that question.

Five years ago, started Hanna Wallach, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research, “I would have made some vague comments about releasing data to academia, but now having spent a couple of years working in a company, I don’t think it’s that simple.”

Eytan Bakshy, the senior scientist at the data science team, agreed that the question was a hard one. Even as far as the sharing of data, he identified issues of privacy and ethics that turn the most obvious way forward into a thicket of competing concerns. “It’s very difficult to anticipate how that data’s going to be used, and also in terms of the perception of the user, their trust in you with their data.”

And of course, the reverse of that question is also import: How can computational social science grow markets and improve the user experience?

The video includes a quick review of methods and open-source material, of collaboration, and of the image as data with Wallach, Bakshy and publisher Dao Nguygen of Buzzfeed.

The annual IC2S2, hosted by the Kellogg School of Management in 2016, convenes interdisciplinary researchers to discover, discuss, and collaborate at the intersection of data science and social science. This video is a sample of what IC2S2 attendees experience during this multi-day event. The next IC2S2 conference takes place in Cologne, Germany on July 10-13. For more information, visit


See the first video in this series, “Answering ‘What is Computational Social Science?’”

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