Every day through our computers and devices, a myriad of apps and services track our behaviour in precise detail. Most of this information is collected and analysed by companies that are trying to sell us things; whether it’s Amazon trying to sell us products, or Google looking to sell ads that are precisely targeted to us as individuals.
But could this wealth of data also be used in ways that actually benefit wider society? That’s what economists and data-scientists Fabian Braesemann and Fabian Stephany are hoping to do with DWG, a Berlin-based company that they are currently founding as a planned spinout from Oxford University. The idea was born when the two founders applied for project funding to the OX/BER Research Partnership.
As we explore in the podcast, by combing data sets in novel ways DWG is able to shed new light on complex societal dynamics: from looking at the economic vulnerabilities from Covid, to finding ways of predicting gentrification. This information can then be used to help governments and organisations make better decisions.
Fabian Braesemann and Fabian Stephany are both based at the Oxford Internet Institute, where they are research associates.