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Data-driven Society in the Making

Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies


This research project is about implementation of data-driven practices, learning algorithms and artificial intelligence in health care and social services. We study promises of the new technology, policy that advocates it, and actual development and adoption processes of advanced ICT. We examine regional projects of developing and implementing advanced data mining technologies and data-driven practices in medical and social services in Finland. We also analyze technological, political and social contexts in which these projects and practices emerge. We approach these issues from the perspective of social sciences.

Our research focuses on the very core of becoming of the data driven society, namely on digital data and computer algorithms used in data management in actual settings and practices. By data management we mean formation, collection, aggregation and analysis of data, as well as circulation of data and information in a digital form. By examining different case sites, we aim to capture the aspects that make algorithms influential and capable of performing their tasks in specific settings. Furthermore, we analyze the aspects of management, structure, communication and work practices in a medical and social services, which facilitate or hinder adoption and implementation of appropriation of digital databases.

The project is being carried out at the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland in 2019-22, and it is funded by the Academy of Finland. The project is directed by professor of sociology Ilpo Helén.



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