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How Can Data Help People's Lives?

Data Science

Based on his recent research and work for the EU Commission, "Unlocking Privately-Held Data to Create Public Value", Alberto Alemanno, Professor of European Union Law and Regulation at HEC Paris, discusses the concept of "Data for Good", whereby private data such as those collected by social media, telecoms and banks, can be shared with public authorities so as to save lives, such as in natural disasters, and improve them through better designed and more effective policies.

alberto alemanno data for good

"The whole conversation about data often hides the facts that behind data there are people, there are humans, there are people like us. It sounds very abstract. 

And I think a part of my work has been to try to humanize the conversation about data and turning them into raw material we can use to make our life better. 

And this is a bit of a missing link in current research, which is focusing very much on the business potential of data, but not necessarily in the way which governments, cities and social companies can use these data to improve people lives.

The explosion of the data we are generating today is certainly a trigger for my own interest in trying to find a way to not only tap in the potential of those data to create value for few companies around the world but also to spread the added value of those data, and try to make sure they could be shared, to save people in a national disaster, or to improve the way we design policy. 

And this is the philosophy of Data for Good. And we need legal solutions and public policy solutions to make this happen."


Data for Good by HEC Professor Alberto Alemanno
This interview is based on "Data for Good: Unlocking Privately-Held Data to the Benefit of the Many” by Alberto Alemanno, 9 European Journal of Risk Regulation 2 (2018).

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