Living in the World of Both/And

In 2011, New York Times data scientist Jake Porway wrote a blog post lamenting the fact that most data scientists spend their days creating apps to help users find restaurants, TV shows, or parking spots, rather than addressing complicated social issues like helping identify which teens are at risk of suicide or creating a poverty index of Africa using satellite data. That post hit a nerve. Data scientists around the world began clamoring for opportunities to “do good with data.” Porway—at the center of this storm—began to convene these scientists and connect them to nonprofits via hackathon-style events called DataDives, designed to solve big social and environmental problems. There was so much interest, he eventually quit his day job at the Times and created the organization DataKind to steward this…


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