I am applying to a grad program for Data Analytics. I had a chance to participate in a discussion a while ago about the use of machine learning algorithms that tell police where they should patrol. And because this algorithm uses data from the past, it over-represents a certain ethnic group. I thought this was a good example of how data could be misused and would like to include it in my statement. I believe that grad school would provide me with the necessary skills to identify and correct biases in data to ensure things like this won’t happen in the future. However, I’m a bit hesitant since some people could find this too political. I really don’t want to risk my chance but still think this is an important issue in today’s world and would like to use data analytics techniques to solve it.
Not too political! In fact, it sounds like a reasonable topic for a frame narrative intro. Just make sure you provide compelling evidence that you’re ready to explore, unpack, and eventually solve this problem.
It’s not about whether the problem is political or not. It’s about whether you can prove you’re the scholar who’s capable of studying it in a nuanced way. No topic is too political if you discuss it in a balanced, thoughtful manner that respects the deeper academic aspects of the question.
*This question was originally asked on Reddit here.