Data science has revolutionised the social sciences at the same time as industries and academia are being transformed by the availability of big data, coupled with massive increases in computing power.
At this crucial time for society, the LSE Data Science Institute (DSI) mapped out its ambitions to make a meaningful impact in the coming years at its official launch event. The event marked the DSI's launch in 2020 as it enters a new phase following the award of a new transformative gift.
The DSI is uniquely placed to combine the technical aspects of data science (statistics, machine learning, and computer programming) with applications to the social world. This was evident during the event as the DSI brought together the expertise of a panel of experts to share their thoughts on how to address the pressing challenges and seize opportunities for global prosperity.
Reflecting on the fascinating event, Professor Helen Margetts OBE FBA said “It was a pleasure to take part in a discussion on the future of social data science. From government to public policy, data science presents both incredible opportunities and significant challenges that will shape our society. It is great to welcome the LSE Data Science Institute to the social data science landscape.”
The selection of this topic successfully outlined how the DSI's vision is integral to realising the ambitions at the heart of LSE 2030 as the School embraces new technology to keep the social sciences at the forefront of global thinking, solutions and impact. This was outlined by event attendee Dr Angela Spatharou: "As an early participant in discussions on the inception of the DSI as LSE Governor, and now as LSE Council member, it is fantastic to see the progress achieved in a short time and the excitement to bring data science to the forefront of social sciences, and increase positive impact for society."
DSI Director Professor Ken Benoit expressed how the DSI will also lead LSE during the ongoing revolution of 'social data science' through spreading data science education across the School and supporting research and outreach via the implementation of innovative ways of working. Ken commented during the event: "The study of human affairs has transformed the study of the social sciences. Data science needs the domain knowledge from the social sciences whose study is led by LSE. Conversely, social science needs the tools and methods from the emerging fields of data science to study big data. By fostering this multi-disciplinary collaboration, the DSI will bring together LSE’s specialist expertise in the social sciences with technical expertise in machine learning and AI. Also crucially, LSE also brings a critical focus on the paramount ethical and legal issues surrounding the applications of data science to the social world. We fully expect that the next phase of studying the social sciences will be transformative and that the path to this transformation is through data science."
The DSI would like to thank all those that attended the event in person or via following on YouTube. The event recording can be found here.