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Data & Society Research Institute

New York, New York

Data & Society Research Institute was awarded $2,312,000 between 2014 and 2018, including 7 grants in Human Rights, Digital Media & Learning, Technology in the Public Interest, and Discovery Grants.


2018 • 1 month

Data & Society is a research institute focused on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric and automated technologies by providing and encouraging research that can ground informed, evidence-based public debates building a network of researchers and practitioners who can anticipate issues and offer insight and direction. This grant supports Data & Society to participate in a national convening of participatory civic media organizations supported through MacArthur’s Journalism and Media program. The meeting is designed to help coalesce the emerging field of participatory civic media, of which Data & Society is part, by facilitating new connections and collaborations and building a shared sense of identity among a new breed of media and culture organizations using participatory media to amplify historically marginalized voices and strengthen American democracy.


2018 • 3 months

Data and Society Research Institute works to inform and influence discussions about the complex social and cultural issues arising from data-centric and automated technologies. The award will support two strategy meetings focused on future scenarios for the organization.


2018 • 2 years • Technology in the Public Interest

Data & Society Research Institute advances public understanding of the social and cultural implications of data-centric technologies and automation. Through interdisciplinary research and engagement, it works to ensure that knowledge guides the development and governance of technology. The award provides general support to Data and Society as it carries out four interactive objectives. First, to challenge existing narratives about the purpose and power of technology in society using rigorous interdisciplinary research. Second, to expand and support a diverse field of people and organizations grappling with the cultural, legal, political and technical approaches to issues raised by data-centric technologies. Third, to help ensure civil society, media, policymakers, and industry engage with its research insights to inform and reframe decision-making around technology. Finally, to encourage a culture and practice of open experimentation and new forms of knowledge production. Through this, the Data & Society Research Institute seeks to shape a future in which values that inform the design of data-centric technology are visible and intentionally chosen with respect for human dignity.


2016 • 2 years • Human Rights

The award provides general support to the Data and Society Research Institute, which aims to inform and influence discussions about the complex social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technology development. It does this by publishing original, evidence-based, interdisciplinary research and through field building. Central to the organization’s work is exploring and highlighting the implications of data-driven decision-making for civil liberties and civil rights. Instead of taking a particular position on the issues it researches, Data and Society works to ensure that informed debates are taking place among policymakers, industry actors, journalists, academics and civil society.


2015 • 7 months • Human Rights

The award supports the creation of research two papers exploring the question “who controls the public sphere in the age of algorithms?”


2014 • 3 years, 6 months • Digital Media & Learning

The Data & Society Research Institute is a New York City-based think tank focused on social, cultural, and ethical issues arising from data-centric technological development. The Institute will use this grant to support a set of activities exploring issues of privacy and trust that will help create a policy environment that is supportive of enacting Connected Learning--the approach to learning that has emerged from MacArthur’s grantmaking and is designed to prepare young people for the digital age--across formal and informal learning environments, including schools, libraries, museums and online.


2014 • 2 years, 4 months • Discovery Grants

The Data & Society Research Institute is dedicated to addressing social, technical, ethical, legal, and policy issues created by emerging data-centric technologies. This grant will explore the legal, economic, and cultural implications of "intelligent systems," software that exercises judgment and control in lieu of human management, in fields such as medicine, finance, transportation, and security. It will seek underlying principles that can be applied across these fields, build networks between legal, technical, and economic experts, develop specific legal recommendations, and respond to the needs of policy makers.

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