Large and complex datasets can be used to address societal challenges (e.g., climate change, energy and transportation, health, inclusion and systematic racism and inequality). Potential downsides exist as well in terms of loss of privacy, algorithmic bias, and broader ethical concerns.
To best meet these challenges, we need an integrated humanistic and scientific approach to understanding our data-infused world. Data science-related majors at Amherst include computer science and statistics, though many other majors facilitate the application of data science, including (but not limited to) anthropology, astronomy, biology, chemistry, economics, English, mathematics, neuroscience, physics, political science, psychology, and sociology.
Making sense of the data that surround us is inherently a liberal art.