Harvard Data Science Review Podcast
Public Opinions on Immigrants and Refugees: Does the Data Inform or Misinform Us?

Public Opinions on Immigrants and Refugees: Does the Data Inform or Misinform Us?

June 29, 2022

In this episode we dive into the data on refugees and immigration. American public opinion seems very divided on these issues, but is it really? Is the U.S. more or less welcoming to refugees and immigrants than other parts of the world? How has disinformation influenced politics? Will the U.S. Southern Border, Ukraine, and other potential refugee crises affect the upcoming political elections in the U.S.? We bring in two experts to help discuss:

  • Scott Tranter, Senior Vice President, Data Science and Engineering at Dynata and Co-Founder of Øptimus Analytics, which was acquired by Dynata in 2021. He is also an investor in Decision Desk HQ, which provides election results data to news outlets, political campaigns, and businesses.

 

Is It a Good Idea to Legalize Marijuana? What Can Data Tell Us?

Is It a Good Idea to Legalize Marijuana? What Can Data Tell Us?

May 25, 2022

In this episode we discuss the hotly debated topic of marijuana legalization. While 18 states have legalized recreational marijuana and the United States House of Representatives just passed a landmark marijuana legalization bill, cannabis is still an illegal substance under federal law in the United States.  With the help of two experts, we dive into the data behind the arguments for and against the legalization of marijauna.

Our guests:

  • Dr. Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, Director of the Substance Use Epidemiology Unit, Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University.
  • Lt. Diane Goldstein, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) and law enforcement veteran having worked in investigations, crisis negotiation, and gang enforcement for 21 years.
Can or Should the Question, “Are We Alone?” be Answered by Data Alone?

Can or Should the Question, “Are We Alone?” be Answered by Data Alone?

April 22, 2022

Does life exist elsewhere in the universe? It's a question as old as time. On this month’s episode of the HDSR podcast we find out everything there is to know about life beyond earth by talking to the foremost experts who seek data and evidence to investigate the question, “Are we alone?”

Our guests are:

  • Abraham (Avi) Loeb, the Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University, Director of the Galileo Project and the Black Hole Initiative at Harvard University, and the bestselling author of Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth and Life in the Cosmos.
  • Nick Pope, former civilian employee of the UK Ministry of Defense where his duties included investigating UFO sightings to assess the defense implications. Currently he works as a freelance journalist and broadcaster, specializing in UFOs, the unexplained, and conspiracy theories. 

 

Recommender Systems: “People who listened to this episode also listened to … “

Recommender Systems: “People who listened to this episode also listened to … “

March 25, 2022

Recommender systems have become omnipresent in our everyday lives exemplified by Netflix telling us what movies to watch, to Amazon suggesting which books we should read, to Instacart promoting specific brands we must buy. We are constantly being influenced and seduced by these algorithms and the humans who designed them. On this month’s HDSR podcast we examine the pros and cons of recommender systems as well as the art, passion, and creativity that can be lost when we rely too heavily on them. 

Our expert guests are Dr. Pearl Pu, the leading data scientist on recommender systems and a senior scientist at the Faculty of Information and Communication Sciences at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, and film-maker Brandt Andersen whose most recent film, Refugee about a Syrian doctor’s escape from her war torn country, was short-listed for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 2020.

 

Dating App or Matchmaker: Will You Swipe Right?

Dating App or Matchmaker: Will You Swipe Right?

February 14, 2022

Love is the topic of this Valentine’s Day episode of the HDSR Podcast. How do you find it and how do you make it last?  ​​Dating apps are a commonplace way for couples to meet and relationships to form, but do they help to make real love connections? With the help of two experts, we dive into the world of dating apps and discover how they can help and hinder your search for love. We also explore matchmaking services and discuss how working with a professional matchmaker might be more effective in finding true love than any dating app algorithm.

Our guests are Liesel Sharabi, Assistant Professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Director of the Relationships & Technology Lab at Arizona State University, and author of the HDSR article, Finding Love on a First Data: Matching Algorithms in Online Dating; and Talia Goldstein, President and Founder of Three Day Rule Matchmaking, an exclusive matchmaking company for busy professionals.

Data Science for Criminal Justice: Can We Avoid Black Box Algorithms for High-Stake Decisions?

Data Science for Criminal Justice: Can We Avoid Black Box Algorithms for High-Stake Decisions?

January 25, 2022

In this episode we examine the use of secret or black box algorithms for high-stake decisions, particularly in the criminal justice system. How do they factor in the decisions made every day by state and federal courts concerning bail, sentencing, and parole? Are black box algorithms fair and unbiased? Do they help counteract or support societal prejudices?  Is their use in criminal justice cases serving the public’s best interest?

We discuss these issues and more with two experts on the topic: Cynthia Rudin, Professor of Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Statistical Science, Mathematics, and Biostatistics & Bioinformatics and Director of the Interpretable Machine Learning Lab at Duke University and Brandon Garrett, Professor of Law and founder of the Wilson Center for Science and Justice at Duke University.

Can Data Science Help the Wine Industry (and me, to pick up a good bottle)?

Can Data Science Help the Wine Industry (and me, to pick up a good bottle)?

December 16, 2021

‘Tis the season to be merry and bright, and doesn’t a glass of wine go a long way to help ring in the festivities?  We think so because this month's episode of the HDSR Podcast is devoted to the wine industry – from production to consumption.  We discuss the impact of COVID on the global supply chain, the idiosyncrasies of local government regulations, the effects climate change is having on traditional and emerging grape growing regions, how winemakers use data analysis, and most important, what are the key data points that every potential wine connoisseur should know in order to impress their families and friends at holiday gatherings this season.

We are joined by two expert guests: Orley Ashenfelter, the Joseph Douglas Green 1895 Professor of Economics at Princeton University and President of the American Association of Wine Economists and Don St Pierre, the Executive Chairman of Vinfolio, the U.S.’s leading fine wine marketplace, investment advisor, and professional wine storage facility.  

Government Data:  How Do They Serve Us but Also Concern Us

Government Data: How Do They Serve Us but Also Concern Us

November 19, 2021

On this episode we examine how the U.S. government collects data to serve the public and how to ensure such a process does not hurt the people it aims to serve. We discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of this topic including privacy issues, the 2020 U.S. Census, how well-intended methods may adversely affect minority populations, and why it’s important for local communities to collect and report their own data. We also ask how transparent should the federal government be about its data collection and who should the public be most worried about when it comes to data privacy?

Our guests are Tim Persons, Chief Scientist for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Managing Director of its Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics team and Julia Lane, New York University professor and co-founder of the Coleridge Initiative, a not-for-profit organization that is working with governments to ensure that data are more effectively used for public decision-making.

Pollsters: The Discoverers and Guardians of Public Opinion

Pollsters: The Discoverers and Guardians of Public Opinion

October 21, 2021

This episode focuses on the art and science of measuring public opinion. We discuss the challenges pollsters face when trying to predict how public opinion may change over time, review both the innovative and time-tested methods of polling and discover which recent polls have revealed the most surprising data. 

Our guests are Kristen Soltis Anderson, pollster, speaker, commentator, author and co-founder of Echelon Insights, an opinion research and analytics firm; and Cliff Young, President of US Public Affairs at Ipsos, Adjunct Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University and a frequent writer, analyst, and commentator on elections, electoral polling, and public opinion.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence: Will it be the Terminator or the Jetsons?

The Future of Artificial Intelligence: Will it be the Terminator or the Jetsons?

September 16, 2021

On this episode we explore all things AI with our guests Kathleen Walch and Ron Schmelzer, hosts of the popular AI Today podcast and principal analysts and managing partners of Cognilytica, an AI research and advisory firm.

With Kathleen and Ron, we discuss the spread of AI in our lives, from autonomous vehicles to Taco Bell’s new automatic drive thru lanes. But has too much been promised and not delivered? Are we on the brink of an AI winter, where development and investment cool down? We look at all the possibilities of how our future will change with AI. 

Our hosts, Xiao-Li and Liberty were also guests on the AI Today podcast. If you’d like to hear that interview, you can listen here: https://www.cognilytica.com/2021/09/16/ai-today-podcast-interview-with-harvard-data-science-review-hdsr-podcast-hosts-liberty-vittert-xiao-li-meng/

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App