How Do You Vote? 50 Million Google Images Give a Clue

What vehicle is most strongly associated with Republican voting districts? Extended-cab pickup trucks. For Democratic districts? Sedans. Those conclusions may not be particularly surprising. After all, market researchers and political analysts have studied such things for decades. But what is surprising is how researchers working on an ambitious project based […] Read more »

21st-century propaganda: A guide to interpreting and confronting the dark arts of persuasion

… The belief, or rather hope, that humankind is ultimately rational has gripped Western politics at least since Descartes, and inspired such 19th-century optimists as Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill. “Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe,” Jefferson famously wrote. But in […] Read more »

No, big data did not polarize us

… Polarization in American politics is right now about as strong as it was in the late 19th century. There’s probably a mediocre steampunk sci-fi novel out there about the McKinley campaign hiring an analyst to build some Charles Babbage analytical engine to perfectly target prospective Republican voters across the […] Read more »

Bold Promises Fade to Doubts for a Trump-Linked Data Firm

Standing before political and business leaders in New York last fall, Alexander Nix promised a revolution. … Mr. Nix’s little-known firm, Cambridge Analytica, claimed to have developed something unique: “psychographic” profiles that could predict the personality and hidden political leanings of every American adult. “Of the two candidates left in the […] Read more »

Algorithmic Bias: How the Clinton Campaign May Have Lost the Presidency or Why You Should Care

We’ve recently been informed that the Clinton campaign relied heavily on an automated decision aid to inform senior campaign leaders about likely scenarios in the election. This algorithm—known as “Ada”—was a key component, if not “the” component in how senior staffers formulated campaigning strategy. … So what happened with Clinton’s […] Read more »