The third day of the first UN World Data Forum opened on Tuesday morning, 17 January, with the plenary session on “Capturing the 21st Century through Data and Algorithms.” Speakers emphasized that the public’s world view and knowledge do not mirror reality, and suggested that schools are better places to create a more fact-based world view than the media; emphasized the value of building narratives from data to steer the narrative to implement the SDGs; and highlighted that, while data can be used to achieve the SDGs, the benefits will be greatest if people participate and are involved in designing, collecting and using that data. On questions of trust, panelists emphasized effectively communicating progress that has been made in development, building a more fact-based society, and making data and statistics more open to contributions and to interrogation by society.
A number of resources and projects were announced or demonstrated throughout the day, including: the Open Algorithm project (OPAL), which serves as a forum through which open algorithms can extract key development data; the Joined-up Data Alliance, which is a coalition of open data standards setters, users and advocates collaborating on the development and usage of data standards; data.world, which is a social network for “data people”; “Dollar Street"”, which is the largest systematic image bank to document home life for people with different income levels around the world; and the Global Reporting Initiative’s sdgcompass.org, which helps companies measure their contributions to the SDGs. In addition, the International Roadmap on Open Data, which summarizes the proceedings of the International Open Data Conference 2016 and includes an action plan, was launched.
Participants attended a gala dinner in the evening, sponsored by MTN South Africa.