The Human in the Data

The Human in the Data

What is The Human in the Data?

DASH’s The Human in the Data Initiative focuses on the ubiquity of Big Data and algorithmic decision making in every major sector in our world.  Experts from different fields apply sophisticated algorithms to extract insights from data sets, and expectations are high that these insights will aid decision making in areas such as health, food, energy, education, environment and social policy.  The use of quantitative data for decision-making has 19th-century roots, but in the 20th and 21st centuries, new technology has enabled more complex collection and application of large datasets. When represented by numbers and numerical proxies, individuals and social relationships are abstracted and obscured to both researchers and end users.  Yet data is used to explain, predict, and direct human behavior and define research agendas.

Join us as we seek to critically engage with the humanistic dimensions of this significant cultural shift.


The Human in the Data MnDrive Fellowship Program

Co-sponsored by DASH, Institute for Advanced Study, and Research Computing


We invite applications for graduate student summer fellowships in the amount of $7,000 each to fund research on the humanistic implications of data and its use in one of five MnDrive areas of concentration:  robotics, global food, environment, brain conditions, or cancer clinical trials. This fellowship is intended to fund non-traditional scholarship and engagement work that might not normally fit within standard disciplinary graduate research.  Students in the humanities, arts, and humanistic social sciences are particularly encouraged to apply. Eight fellows will be selected.

Fellowship applications are due March 6, 2020.


Full details and application instructions can be found on the IAS website.

Upcoming Events

Past Events

• Sneha Narayan, Computer Science, Carleton College

The Human in the Data lecture
March 26, 2020 | 3:30 p.m.
Crosby Seminar Room, Northrop


• Amelia McNamara, Computer & Information Sciences , University of St. Thomas


Institute for Advanced Study 5×5 Human in the Data cohort, 2019-2020:

The Institute for Advanced Study 5×5 initiative brings together small groups of people from differing disciplinary backgrounds and positions in the University and off-campus communities for a low-stakes, short-term exploration.