How data science is changing the face of human rights

How data science is changing the face of human rights

How data science is changing the face of human rights

Today the world can be a scary place, and even with modern advancements and societal awareness, the violation of human rights spans the globe. Human Rights Data Analysis Group is using technology to analyze data to protect and support people living in opposition without basic civil liberty. And the right data science skills are a must for those working in this field.

“I think creativity and communication are probably the two most important skills for a data scientist to have these days,” said to Megan Price (pictured), executive director of HRDAG, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that applies rigorous science to the analysis of human rights violations around the world.

Price sat down with Lisa Martin (@Luccazara), co-host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, at the Stanford Global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference in Stanford, CA, to discuss how data can help find accountability for human rights violations. (*Disclosure below.)

Price, who has a doctorate in biostatistics, spent her academic career studying the science. Also drawn to human rights causes, she wondered how to combine her two passions. It wasn’t until a mentor exposed her to the possibilities of blending her education with her interests that she moved on to a career as a human rights advocate.

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The evolution from statistician to analyzing human rights data began when she worked as a statistician at Benetech where she collaborated with Patrick Ball, a well-known leader in quantitative analysis for truth commissions for prominent organizations such as the United Nations. In 2013, Bell and Price formed HRDAG.

Answering questions about responsibility and accountability are what drives the projects HRDAG tackles. “To answer those questions, you have to look at statistical patterns. So, you need to bring a deep understanding of that data that are available and in the appropriate way to analyze and answer the questions,” Price remarked.



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