Digital Anthropology Meets Data Science

Article by Katie Hillier: “Analyzing online ecosystems in real time, teams of anthropologists and data scientists can begin to understand rapid social changes as they happen.

Ask not what data science can do for anthropology, but what anthropology can do for data science. —Anders Kristian Munk, Why the World Needs Anthropologists Symposium 2022

In the last decade, emerging technologies, such as AI, immersive realities, and new and more addictive social networks, have permeated almost every aspect of our lives. These innovations are influencing how we form identities and belief systems. Social media influences the rise of subcultures on TikTok, the communications of extremist communities on Telegram, and the rapid spread of conspiracy theories that bounce around various online echo chambers. 

People with shared values or experiences can connect and form online cultures at unprecedented scales and speeds. But these new cultures are evolving and shifting faster than our current ability to understand them. 

To keep up with the depth and speed of online transformations, digital anthropologists are teaming up with data scientists to develop interdisciplinary methods and tools to bring the deep cultural context of anthropology to scales available only through data science—producing a surge in innovative methodologies for more effectively decoding online cultures in real time…(More)”.