In Depth President Lincoln Taking a Selfie

Published on January 15th, 2015 | by

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Critics Fear Big Data in Alternate History

Late last year, an article in Slate denounced the big data movement, rationalizing its opposition by arguing that U.S. history would have been significantly worse had this technology been invented a few hundred years ago. Written by Alvaro Bedoya, the executive director of Georgetown University’s new Center on Privacy and Technology and a former staffer for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota), the op-ed claims that big data, if it had been around, would have exacerbated a host of shameful events in our nation’s past, from the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II to the ban on gay and lesbian soldiers serving openly in the U.S. military, and prevented some notable historical achievements, such as the American Revolution and the Underground Railroad.

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