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This panel explores the relationship between expertise, experience and numerical data in our data-saturated world. Emerging from the question - what are the social practices behind the creation and presentation of numerical data? - we invite papers exploring data practices through ethnographic study
The World Bank and International Labour Organisation predict that within the next few years, and for the first time, over half the world's workers will be in what is broadly termed the 'service sector'. An increasing number of these will be 'knowledge workers', whose jobs involve the creation, interpretation and distribution of information. In this panel, we want to explore the social practices behind the creation and use of numerical data as 'information', whether on our climate, on our economy, within the corporation, or within the academy. Who are the people behind this data collection? How are digital technologies and new and novel metrics shaping what counts as valid knowledge, and what role does the expert or lived experience have in challenging numerical data which can often seem so certain, and so convincing? We wish to explore what ethnographies of a data-saturated world can tell us about how and why information is being transferred, debated, ignored, or blindly followed, and what role the anthropologist might play in helping navigate these paths going forward.