Leo Goldberger was smuggled out of Denmark to Sweden during the Nazi-occupation. He’s upset by President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel to the US by citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.
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DJ Patil. © 2012 Eric Millette, All Rights ReservedIn 2013, taking a page out of the Silicon Valley playbook, President Obama signed an executive order that made open and machine-readable data the new default for government information. In 2015 he appointed DJ Patil to the newly created role of Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Data Policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Patil, who had worked in the private sector for Ebay, LinkedIn, and others, once honed his skills in data science by improving mathematical models for weather prediction using open data sets available through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Now he was going to use data to tackle problems in areas that required the most spending (costing $1 trillion or more), and which served the greatest number of Americans.
One of those big issues involved the criminal justice system. In 2015 Patil helped launch the White House’s Police Data Initiative, through which police jurisdictions release data collected on their policing, including information about the use of force and traffic stops. By looking at the data, Patil noticed that a number of negative police encounters occurred just after an officer had responded to a suicide or domestic violence call, which suggested that quickly re-dispatching these officers to their normal beat without giving them time to decompress may have led to the incidents of violence.
In the realm of healthcare, Patil’s data efforts centered on President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which would build the largest and richest database of genetic information. Funding provided by the 21st Century Cures Act will go to the National Institutes of Health’s effort to sequence individual human genomes and collect biological samples to be made available for scientific study.
Patil joins Ira to talk about the legacy of his initiatives and the future role of big data in government.