Data & Society to help foster understanding of data-driven technologies

Knight Foundation supports project with $250,000

NEW YORK – July 27, 2016 – Data & Society, a research institute focused on the social and cultural issues arising from data-driven technology, will promote greater understanding of technology and data’s impact on individuals and larger social processes with $250,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

As digital innovation continues to impact different sectors of society and the economy, researchers at Data & Society are working to frame and inform debates on the implications and opportunities presented by emerging technologies – from police body cameras and accountability, to the gig economy’s impact on labor, to fairness in machine learning in a range of contexts, and beyond.

“What is at stake are the trade-offs and cascading implications of socio-technical decisions and systems,” said Data & Society founder danah boyd. “We want to ensure that informed debates are taking place about how these systems affect individuals, civil rights and liberties, and institutions across society.”

With Knight Foundation funding, Data & Society will launch new efforts to connect with wide audiences, including organizations working at the forefront of the tech sector and civil society. It will work to increase information for the public, and to ground conversations around data-driven decision-making in relevant and timely research.

To this end, the institute will grow its network and increase its impact through strategic communications. It will provide media training for researchers so they can better engage with journalists and convey the insights and knowledge of their work, as well as education for journalists and decision-makers wrestling with issues at the intersection of technology and society. Regular convenings will bring together researchers from other organizations, as well as journalists, to explore emerging topics related to technology’s effects on our lives. Data & Society will also work to better connect with the public and share information widely on social media and platforms such as Medium.

“By moving issues into the public forum and getting their research into the right hands, Data & Society will help strengthen the development of technology and better equip the public to understand the opportunities and challenges presented by a data-driven world,” said John Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president for media innovation.

Support for Data & Society forms part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to build informed and engaged communities by creating more opportunities for people to interact with data and technology. Knight Foundation has previously supported the work of Data & Society through the Knight News Challenge on Data and the Knight Prototype Fund.

About Data & Society

Data & Society is a research institute in New York City that is focused on social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development. Data & Society is committed to identifying issues at the intersection of technology and society, providing research that can ground public debates, and building a network of researchers and practitioners who can offer insight and direction. For more, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit