Fairness and Bias

Photo by Fakurian Design on Unsplash

The discovery of DNA was a scientific accomplishment that undoubtedly changed the world. Disappointingly, one of the three men who received the Nobel prize for the discovery, James Watson, has a long history of racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic remarks (source). Despite the passage of time, protected by his privilege…

Hands-on Tutorials

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Consider the difficulty of discovering meaningful patterns in time; for instance, with the evolution of sales, the change in weather, or even one’s own sleep cycle. Compared to other data types, time series data has its own unique considerations. To disambiguate, the stochastic yet cyclical qualities require modeling techniques particularly…

Thoughts and Theory

Satellite image of the West Bank, Palestine from “Hard traveling: unemployment and road infrastructure in the shadow of political conflict” (Abrahams, 2021)

Data scientists have a tendency to focus on descriptive and predictive analysis, but neglect causal analysis. Decision making, however, requires causal analysis, a fact well recognized by public health epidemiologists during this Covid-19 pandemic. Due to my background in biology, I had internalized the adage “correlation does not equal causation”…

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Natural language processing (NLP) is a diverse field; the approaches and techniques are as varied as the diversity of textual samples available for analysis (eg. blogs, tweets, reviews, policy documents, new articles, journal publications etc.). Choosing a good approach requires an understanding of the questions being asked of the data…

The LDA model graphically represented with plate notation. Image by Author.

Topic modeling is a form of unsupervised machine learning that allows for efficient processing of large collections of data, while preserving the statistical relationships that are useful for tasks such as classification or summarization. The goal of topic modeling is to uncover latent variables that govern the semantics of a…

Hands-on Tutorials

Causal diagram of text (W) as treatment (T) and confounder (Z), with outcome Y and covariates C, where T and Z are correlated. Image by author.

Science fiction tells us that rampant disinformation is a foresign of a society’s descent into a dystopia. It could be argued that disinformation destabilizes a democracy (Morgan 2018, Farkas & Schou 2019). Tangibly, people disregarding medical evidence has a negative impact on public health. For instance, people who are willing…

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Two years ago, Google announced that it was using an AI language model, named BERT, to improve Google Search; back then it was used in roughly 10% of searches. A year later, in a post titled “How AI is powering a more helpful Google”, the company reported that BERT is…

Thoughts and Theory

Cat origami leads to data science, eventually. Image by author.

Recently, I was honoured to be interviewed for an author spotlight by TDS editor, Ben Huberman. I took the opportunity to highlight my connectionist approach to learning data science. In particular, I discussed my desire to continuously connect ideas — that inclination is responsible for this article that combines two…

Fairness and Bias

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A year ago when discussing racial bias present in facial recognition, AI pioneer Yan Lecun controversially tweeted, “ML systems are biased when data is biased” (source: Twitter). This provoked a response from AI Ethics researcher, Timnit Gebru, who expressed her frustration at the overly simplistic framing of this issue, an…

Hands-on Tutorials

Map of the West Bank, Palestine, showing small peripheral neighbourhoods in red and larger more central neighbourhoods in blue. Image by author.

Historically, both economists and philosophers have been preoccupied with extracting an understanding of cause and effect from empirical evidence. David Hume, an economist and philosopher, is renowned for exploring causality, both as an epistemological puzzle and as a matter of practical concern in applied economics. In an article titled “Causality…

Haaya Naushan

Research Consultant and Data Scientist. Enthusiastic about machine learning, social justice, video games and philosophy.

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