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On the orchestration of technique and sentiment in data-driven consumer finance markets

Title
On the orchestration of technique and sentiment in data-driven consumer finance markets
Speaker(s)
Speaker: Dr Liz McFall # Open University; Hosted by: Sociology # University of Edinburgh
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
22nd Nov 2017 11:00 - 22nd Nov 2017 12:00
Location
1st floor practice suite (CMB 1.12)
URL
http://www.sociology.ed.ac.uk/events2/seminar_series/2017_2018/on_the_orchestration_of_technique_and_sentiment_in_data-driven_consumer_finance_markets

Is the orchestration of technique and sentiment, which I posit is necessary to mobilise action, to ‘move the world’ in Oliver Wendell Holmes’s words, being transformed by datafication? One way to think about this is through two distinct market situations in consumer finance, one contemporary and one historical. The contemporary case concerns the integration of wearable devices in individual health and life insurance markets. The historical case centres on a form of life assurance targeted at the poor which experienced colossal growth between 1850-1950. Using these cases I argue that there is an irreducible element of futurecasting mystery in the relationship between data showing what consumers have done, even in the immediate past, and what they might do next. The epistemological chutzpah of big data is that it solves this mystery to allow markets to imperfectly, but more finally, combine scale and insight to drive action. It can’t and it won’t.

sociology