thoughts on geodemographics (Baiocchi et al., 2010)

“The rationale behind geodemographics is that places and people are inextricably linked. Knowledge about the whereabouts of people reveals information about them. Such an approach has been shown to work well because people with similar lifestyles tend to cluster — a longstanding theoretical and empirical finding in the sociological literature.”
This paragraph summarizes the theoretical basis of the analysis conducted by this study and the basic idea of geodemographics. I think this shares the same idea with AI profiling by using big geospatial data, or in another way, AI profiling in regards to space is geodemographics. Some of the critical issues are similar. The first issue is related to the uncertainties of the knowledge it produces, which can cause unjust action towards individuals. As Mittelstadt (2016) argues, even if strong correlations or causal knowledge are found, this knowledge may only concern populations while actions are directed towards individuals. This becomes more problematic when we conduct spatial clustering and assuming that places can reflect every individual and decisions can be made based on the analysis of an area. The second issue is once again related to scale, or the modifiable areal unit problem. The scale of analysis can significantly influence the results we obtained. At which scale can we argue that the places and people are inextricably linked? At the neighborhood level, city level, or country level? I wonder if in the field of geodemographics those issues are considered or addressed.

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