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Overview

This course gives you context and first-hand experience with the two major catalyzers of the computational science revolution: big data and artificial intelligence. With more than 99% of all mediated information in digital format and with 98% of the world population using digital technology, humanity produces an impressive digital footprint. In theory, this provides unprecedented opportunities to understand and shape society. In practice, the only way this information deluge can be processed is through using the same digital technologies that produced it. Data is the fuel, but machine learning it the motor to extract remarkable new knowledge from vasts amounts of data. Since an important part of this data is about ourselves, using algorithms in order to learn more about ourselves naturally leads to ethical questions. Therefore, we cannot finish this course without also talking about research ethics and about some of the old and new lines computational social scientists have to keep in mind. As hands-on labs, you will use IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence to extract the personality of people from their digital text traces, and you will experience the power and limitations of machine learning by teaching two teachable machines from Google yourself.

Syllabus

Getting Started and Big Data Opportunities
-In this module, you will be able to define the idea of big data and digital footprint. You will be able to discuss how big data is represented in social science and identify the opportunities of big data.

Big Data Limitations
-In this module, you will be able to explain the limitations of big data. You will work with an AI interface, IBM Watson, and discover how AI can identify personality through Natural Language Processing. You will analyze the personality of a person.

Artificial Intelligence
-In this module, you will discover the history of artificial intelligence (AI) and its fields of study. You'll be able to examine how AI is used through case studies. You will be able to discuss the application of AI and you will use AI to create a unique artifact through a hands-on exercise.

Research Ethics
-In this module, you will be able to define the term research ethics. You will be able to examine the role ethics plays in conducting research. You will be able to discuss how ethics is applied when using AI and big data.