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Interview with Nigel Shadbolt on The Life Scientific

Sir Nigel Shadbolt was interviewed on ‘The Life Scientific‘ this morning  on BBC Radio4 about open data.

The general discussion ranged from his background and what got him interested in this area. The data being discussed is more about government public data (such as medical information or cyclist black spots) than that generated in research projects, but an interesting conversation nonetheless. A couple of items that jumped out to me:

16:50 – When we talk about data, really we are talking about information … Data and information and knowledge are kinda different and mostly when we talk about open data we are talking about information. Data (such as a number) only becomes information if it is placed in context. If you can do something with the information then it becomes knowledge – ‘actionable information’. These are different strains of stuff that the computer holds.  We need open information to build knowledge. The semantic web.

16:00 – Do the risks of making data available outweigh the benefits? And do we ask the general public’s opinion or just tell them that this is what we do? They want some sort of empowerment in this but often there is no empowerment.

29:00 – We are barely scratching the surface in terms of the insights as we anlayse and look for patterns in the information.  We are living in a world that is increasingly emitting data – people are increasingly able to collect data onto and off their phones (or supercomputers, depending on how you look at it). This data richness demands a new world for applications we haven’t thought of and ways of analysing the information.

Listen to the half hour interview here.

Blurb from the BBC webpage:

Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Southampton University, believes in the power of open data. With Sir Tim Berners-Lee he persuaded two UK Prime Ministers of the importance of letting us all get our hands on information that’s been collected about us by the government and other organisations. But, this has brought him into conflict with people who think there’s money to be made from this data. And open data raises issues of privacy.

Nigel Shadbolt talks to Jim al-Khalili about how a degree in psychology and philosophy lead to a career researching artificial intelligence and a passion for open data.

Published 14 April 2015
Written by Dr Danny Kingsley
Creative Commons License