(upbeat music) - [Interviewer] DJ, talk to me about how data influences people's emotions? - Well, this is actually one of the most frustrating things of our times is we have this ability to really weaponize data. It's a politicization of data. It's like your fact and sound byte versus mine without a real discussion of the data. You know, it's almost like if there was a news segment that was there. It was like, "Look, let's just break "this statement that was made around "this data into," like, trying to really understand what's behind it. And you realize that there's actually a lot more complexity. So let's just look at three very simple problems that are right now, that are mind-numbingly painful from looking really at the data. First one, climate change. We know that there's a whole incredible body of literature out there that supports that climate change is happening and it's happening at an increased rate. And there's going to be profound changes. Now, what are those actual changes of climate variability? We don't actually know fully. We have a good sense of what they're going to lead to but there's a lot of stuff that's still out there. But yet we can't even have a discussion about it. We just have to have a discussion that says, "Nope, we can't study that." That's one side. Another one, gun violence. We refuse to even collect data about gun deaths. In fact, the current US Congress prevents the study of gun violence. So we can't even collect data, have a discussion. So therefore we can only hurl my political perspective against your political perspective and we may have some data that is not really well-studied or grounded fact versus actually, "Let's have a dialogue actually about really "how we could collect data, how we could actually "understand it, and how lives could be saved." And part of that is saved while preserving the rights that are enshrined in the Constitution. So that's a perfectly reasonable debate that America needs to have. One of the great challenges right now is the conversation about immunizations. So what's going on right now? We have had this conversation in a country where people, a certain small set of people have said, "It is really bad to vaccinate "your kids because of a potential link "to some other type of issue," predominantly autism. There have been study after study after study after study that has looked to investigate are there any issues? And what's happened as a result is all these things have been reproducibly checked. There is no link, yet parents don't want to vaccinate their kids. So what are the implications? You know, we often think of these people who aren't vaccinating the kids. We're like, "Oh, they're just uneducated people," or, "Oh, they must be just very religious." And we kind of have this mental model. That's a disservice to people of all different classes, but it also turns out that some of the population that doesn't want to vaccinate their kids are some of the most well-informed and educated people in the United States just across from where we are right now. Right across the bay, across Golden Gate Bridge, is a town called Marin. Marin has one of the lowest vaccination rates. If you look at the kids that are in the school it's got such a low vaccination rate that if there's an outbreak of measles, and just based on what we know about measles and the number of kids that typically die in an outbreak of measles, there'll be a non-small number of kids who will die of measles. That's why we invented the measle vaccination efforts. That's why this country did it. The same thing we're starting to see around other areas around smallpox or other diseases, we have gotten ourselves into this place where we're refusing to even have the real acceptance of data despite what it shows as potential massive implications to society when we go against that data. (dramatic music)
Skill Level Intermediate
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