Data Science in Society Cluster


Geospatial Data Analysis - Mapping Our World

This focus group aims to develop advanced geospatial tools and research methods for scalable analysis of satellite data. The group will develop workflows that combine machine learning, remote sensing and crowdsourcing tools to map our changing world and to address many of the world’s greatest challenges. The group will identify multidisciplinary research domains that would utilize remotely sensed data to address one or more of UCSD`s research themes. 

Social Ethics: Data Collection and Governance. Social and Economic Impacts of Data Science

This group focuses on the ethical and legal aspects of data collection, access, control, and dissemination. Examples of questions that need to be addressed include: Is there such a thing as the right to informational privacy? How, if at all, would data collection invade such a right? Is it morally permissible, and should it be legally permissible, for personal data to be gathered without consent? Should only certain kinds of data be protected from government or private intrusion? What sorts of reasons would be sufficiently strong to justify data collection without consent? If consent is required, does it have to be affirmative, or can it be presumed? Once data is collected, who is morally and legally permitted to have access to it? At what level of detail? Who should have control of the data? How should controls be implemented? Who should have the right to decide whether data can be disseminated to private persons, to the public, or to the government?

  • John Ahlquist Global Policy & Strategy
  • Amy Alexander Visual Arts
  • Natasha Balac  Qualcomm Institute
  • Chaitan Baru San Diego Supercomputer Center
  • Cinnamon Bloss Family Medicine & Public Health
  • Benjamin Bratton Visual Arts
  • Scott Desposato Political Science
  • Jeff Elman Cognitive Science
  • Kelly Gates Communication & Science Studies
  • Uma Karmarkar Global Policy & Strategy and Rady School of Management
  • Alex Orailoglu Computer Science & Engineering
  • Samuel C. Rickless Philosophy
  • Akos Rona-Tas Sociology
  • Kamala Visweswaran Ethnic Studies
  • Angela Yu Cognitive Science
  • Kirk Christian Bansak Political Science

Business Analytics

Business/consumer interactions produce an immense volume of data on a wide variety of activities (e.g., customer relationship management data across multiple customer touchpoints (e.g., website, email, social media, ads), ERP data on business operations, pricing data across product assortments and continuous-time response data by retailers and competitors, and so on). This focus group aims to leverage the data produced from these interactions toward a better understanding of how businesses and consumers behave and interact. Such understanding not only improves decision-making across all functional areas within the business, it can inform public policy as well. Research in business analytics helps to ensure that the right goods and services are provided to consumers in the right format (design, price, timing, etc.) which can help to increase market competition and the social surplus associated with production and consumption.

Practical Data Ethics: Biases, Nudges and Moral Responsibility

Large scale data on human behavior are gradually revealing the intricate structure of subtle situational cues that influence choices and decisions, and are allowing us to engineer situations to influence human decisions all the more. While such choice architecture may be used to nudge people toward pro-social ends, they may just as well encourage poor decisions. Can crisp boundaries be drawn between desirable and undesirable nudges of human choices? How do we assign moral responsibility to choices which we learn to be ever more constrained by subtle details of the situation?

Data-Enabled Studies of Society and Culture. Digital Anthropology. China. Passive data collection in fragile and conflict environments

Digital Democracy, Economic Security and Data-enabled Transparency