Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Alfred Spector presents a lecture "Data Science: Opportunities and Challenges"

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Denison University welcomes Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Alfred Spector presenting a lecture “Data Science: Opportunities and Challenges.”

Data-driven approaches have led to powerful prediction, optimization and automation techniques. Powered by large-scale, networked computer systems and machine learning algorithms, these have been very impactful to-date and hold great promise in many disciplines, even in the humanities and social sciences. However, no new technology arrives without complications, and we have recently seen the press and various political circles illustrating problematic implications of Big Data.

Spector’s lecture aims to balance the opportunities provided by Big Data and its associated artificial intelligence techniques with a discussion of the various challenges that have ensued. Spector reviews eleven types of challenges, including those which are technical (resilience and complexity), societal (difficulties in setting objective functions or understanding causation), and humanist (issues relating to free will or privacy). Spector provides example problems and suggests ways to address some of the unanticipated consequences of Big Data.

Alfred Spector is Chief Technology Officer at Two Sigma, a firm dedicated to using information to undertake many forms of economic optimization. Dr. Spector’s career has led him from innovation in large scale, networked computing systems (at Stanford, CMU, and his company, Transarc) to broad research leadership: eight years leading Google Research and five years leading IBM Software Research. Recently, Spector has lectured widely on the growing importance of computer science across all disciplines (CS+X) and on the Societal Implications of Data Science.

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