Omidyar Network, alongside Carrot, today unveiled The Future of Data Challenge, which will award $1.1 million toward up to 10 transformative solutions that reimagine the data economy and help build a more equitable data future for all.
Each time someone explores the Internet, uses a mobile app, or engages with digital technology, their data is being collected and used by businesses and governments. Often, this data can be used to connect them with helpful information or services. But increasingly, it’s used in ways that expose them to various social, emotional, physical, and financial risks. It’s becoming even more common for data to be used in discriminatory ways, such as excluding entire groups of people from opportunities.
Until now, certain assumptions driving the data economy—like “data is property”—have largely gone unchallenged, promoting a lopsided bargain, limiting data’s full societal value, and slowing innovation across the economy. The data economy is instead built on incentives that drive harmful business models, exacerbate surveillance risks, and concentrate power and wealth. History tells us this model is not sustainable, smart, or just.
“We need a new data culture,” said Sushant Kumar, Director of Responsible Technology at Omidyar Network. “The end of the first quarter in a ‘century of data’ is approaching, and we have an opportunity to rethink all of the ideas we carried forward from the last century. In order to experience truly equitable and inclusive societies, we need to imagine entirely alternate data realities. We hope this challenge encourages society to reconsider what data means, how we distribute the risks and benefits, and how we can infuse fairness across institutions, technology, policies, and cultural norms.”
We’re inviting innovators, activists, designers, researchers, risk-takers, entrepreneurs, cooperatives, trusts, governments, and others, from every corner of the globe, to help identify transformative ideas that drive us toward a fundamentally different data future.
Participants must register by Thursday, August 25 at 3:00 PM PT and apply by Thursday, September 15 at 3:00 PM PT to be considered. Finalists will be notified in December 2022 and winners will be showcased at a public event in Spring 2023.
Proposals should focus on one or more of the following solution areas:
Activism & Awareness
Deliver a narrative or public campaign strategy to accomplish one or more of these objectives:
- Change hearts and minds about data’s role in society
- Pursue justice and policy change
- Engage stakeholders in asserting their rights and agency
- Present a new vision for the data economy
Evidence, Design & Technology
Conceptualize or implement new models that establish greater fairness in the data value chain through one or a combination of:
- Evidence-producing concepts, which might include plans for qualitative and empirical research across disciplines about data’s unique nature, its value, and vulnerabilities
- Design-oriented concepts, which might conceive new institutions, processes, consumer experiences, business models, and market conditions
- Technology-based experiments, which might include those built to enhance privacy and security, on decentralized/distributed ledgers and other Web3 principles, with open-source foundations, and to enhance fiduciary relationships
Governance & Policy
Propose new governance models and policy interventions that can demonstrate new ways of thinking about data moving away from “data as property” framing. These proposals might include:
- Social, ethical, and economic frameworks
- Codes, contracts, and cultural norms
- Legislation that enables better data governance
For more details about The Future of Data Challenge, please visit www.futureofdatachallenge.org.