Leveraging the Data Explosion for the Public Interest


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Length of Course

3 hours

Delivery Method



$425 CAD

Cost includes a non-refundable $25 registration fee


Traditional data sources lag reality often by weeks or months and often don’t capture the complexity of our economies and societies today. But each day, scanners, sensors, satellites, smartphones, and online platforms capture the details of our digital lives. The result of this "digital refuse" is the biggest database ever available. We can use these new datasets to build upon our traditional datasets and better monitor, anticipate, and respond to events. One example is the use of online job postings to get a real-time read on the labour market and to understand how the nature of jobs is changing due to AI developments.

This class explores the opportunities and challenges this phenomenon raises for policymakers. The class will expose participants to the use of non-traditional datasets across a wide range of local and global applications and experiments undertaken in recent years – from those measuring economic activity to the spread of disease to the impacts of climate change to verifying official data from authoritarian regimes.

Participants will consider the potential such non-traditional datasets present to better measure, analyze, and advance the public interest in a more timely, targeted fashion, and as a complement to more traditional datasets. They will also confront some of the risks leaders will need to mitigate to fully leverage this potential.


Danielle GoldfarbDanielle Goldfarb is an adviser and expert on the digital economy, real-time data, and public policy. Her TEDx talk, “The Smartest Way to Predict the Future,” is about leveraging new technologies to address data bias, improving prediction. Danielle is a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Canada Institute, a distinguished fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and an adviser on public policy to Mila – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute.

Danielle is the author of the April 2024 paper Real Time: Leveraging the Data Explosion for Better Policy. Her current research is on the potential of the data and artificial intelligence explosion to improve public interest outcomes, while also confronting the risks it presents. She hosts the popular "New Tools of the Economists' Trade" series for the Canadian Association of Business and Economics and teaches about the digital data explosion at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. Danielle has led innovative research programs on the digital economy, trade, and public policy at the C.D. Howe Institute, the Conference Board of Canada, and tech company Real-Time Interactive Worldwide Intelligence.

Danielle holds a master of philosophy in international relations from the University of Cambridge and a bachelor of commerce in honours economics from McGill University.


The masterclass format is a concise summary of 4-5 sessions - featuring a mix of introductory remarks, case studies and discussion - delivered over a 3-hour period. Upon completion of the masterclass learning objectives, participants will receive a BEI certificate.

Target Audience

This masterclass is designed for government officials at all levels who would like to better understand the array of new datasets available to inform evidence-based policymaking.

It is not necessary to have a background in data analytics as this is not a technical class, but one that aims to expose participants to the wide array of new data available and consider what it means for the public interest and their own roles.

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