Travis Greene


Personalization as a tool for optimal control or human emancipation?

In what is an ironic shift, the self-expression, freedom, and mutually-beneficial collaboration promised by the adaptive web and Web 2.0 technologies have been one-sidedly co-opted by corporations. During this process, contentious assumptions of economic theory were introduced into personalization research, with little critical pushback.

Ostensibly, personalization is a suite of…

Thoughts and Theory

What happens when AI research and development are co-opted by economic ideology and corporate data platforms?

The COVID-19 pandemic marks an inflection point in the human relationship with digital technology. Online co-working, remote learning, and remote work are the new normal. Our daily average screen time is likely higher now than at any time in the past. Vast networks of new technologies including sensors, devices, and…

The role of facts and values in science, Twitter wars, and how data science risks splitting into two cultures over ethics statements

In his 1917 lecture Science as a Vocation, German sociologist Max Weber argued that questions of fact are separate from questions of value. Given certain pre-specified ends, the task of science is to find the best means of achieving them. But asking which ends to achieve in the first place…

Philosophy for Data Scientists

Derrida on data, context, representation, and the nature of Being

In this post, we’ll continue where we left off in Part I. We’ll now focus on Derrida’s critique of structure (he’s a “post-structuralist”) and his account of context and signification. I’ll also give a brief refresher on some key historical figures (Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx) so that Derrida’s ideas can…

Philosophy for Data Scientists

How do structure and meaning relate, and how do we explain the existence of such structures? By story or by reason?

Welcome back to Part III of our series on the philosophical foundations of AI. (In case you missed them: here are Part I and Part II)

This post explores questions of logic and structure (and their relation to meaning) and examines how myth and reason were separated by Plato and…

Philosophy for Data Scientists

Logic, meaning, and the social and ethical side of things

In Part II of this series (see Part I here), we move from the biblical foundations of language and logic to more of the human, social side of things. You might say we are moving from the realm of syntax to semantics and pragmatics.

Syntax defines what ‘counts’ as an…

Philosophy for Data Scientists

Tracing the history of Western thought from Plato, Descartes, and eventually, to science and AI

This series of posts explores the unfathomably complex intellectual landscape connecting the history of philosophy with modern AI. AI is, in some sense, the most recent attempt of humanity at understanding itself and its place within the universe. It’s an attempt at trying to understand impossibly broad questions like: How…

Using the ethical foundations of the GDPR to usher in a new paradigm of digital identity and personalization

Machine learning-backed personalized services have become a permanent fixture in our increasingly digital lives. Personalization relies on vast quantities of behavioral big data (BBD): the personal data generated when humans interact with apps, devices, and social networks. BBD are the essential raw material of our digital representations.

As life steadily…

Understand the key CJEU court cases and the broader legal, political, and historical context behind the ruling

In this post, I’d like to give some historical and political context to the recent ruling by the CJEU which invalidated the Privacy Shield program between the EU and the US. This deeper contextual understanding can help you to get a feel for the distinct cultural differences between Europe and…

Travis Greene

Thinking about data & philosophy. PhD Student at the Institute of Service Science, National Tsing Hua University

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