170,000 trees… Almost double the Saint Kitts and Nevis Email List of trees that already exist in Paris, the goal is significant and ⅙ of the time available to fulfill this commitment has already elapsed: the opportunity to take stock. That’s good since Christophe Najdovski – deputy mayor of Paris – took the lead on October 13 by posting this tweet: What could have happened that in such a short period of time two people obviously relying on the same open data came to the opposite conclusions? A detour through Scotland to answer this question: “No Scotman would do such a thing!” this is what Antony Flew – British philosopher – tells his fictional Scottish character who.

on reading the various facts, discovers the criminal actions of an Englishman. The following week, the same reader opens his weekly publication and discovers that the same acts have this time been committed by a Scotsman. Despite everything, his positioning does not change and he is content to add to his exclamation the following qualifier: “No true Scotman would do such a thing!”. Since becoming a widespread metonymy, “true Scottish bias” refers to our propensity – so soon as they are refuted – to add ad hoc assumptions to our claims to keep them valid. This bias in ad hoc hypotheses certainly explains how the “number of trees

Trees and open data: cutting the grass under

already increasing” returned – a few days later – to the original promise, namely “an increasing number of plantations” or even a “target of rebalancing of public space ”. Another example: the blow of the masks. At first irrelevant, they then went from “unnecessary” to “too complex for ordinary people to use”. Hypotheses added in succession to justify the absence of masks in pharmacies. The political genius is sometimes in the knowledge of this kind of bias. These are the times when you thought you understood a commitment and the ad hoc assumptions were actually contained in the promise itself:


A tree for every Parisian born over the next 6 years = we will plant 170,000 trees ≠ there will be more trees at the end of the term. We are going to reverse the unemployment curve = at the end of the five-year period, the unemployment trend will be downward or the rise will be decelerating ≠ there will be fewer unemployed in 5 years Here, all formulation precautions are taken so as not to risk being put in default (a kind of true Scottish anticipated). The point is that the data on trees – published by the mayor of Paris herself! – were enough for a handful of Internet users to nail the beak of his deputy.

What about open data and trees

Open data solves part of the problem What open data allows: Constitutes a third party of confidence opposable as for the trees of Paris Any certified body can publish data without systematic control by a centralized executive power The Lemaire law gives citizens an actionable lever to request the publication of reference data and thus multiply / copy the levers on the territory … Corn especially since open data asks us, citizens and elected officials, to tackle the problems with which even those who are paid to solve them sometimes tear their hair out: guarantee the freshness of the data, their completeness, their consistency, knowledge interpret them, etc.

So what is this strength that open data brings to us? How can it not be sufficient? Some possible answers: Material to gain in competence, therefore, but also something to lend the flank to new potential ad hoc hypotheses: “yes, but… The data are not up to date… Only address a limited scope…” etc. The fact remains that at the time of the trees and Open Data Paris … it worked. What if we generalized the concept? 1 promise = 1 open dataset ? Enough to cut the grass under the feet of some elected officials! Voice search is an evolution that is already well established in homes, while the coming months will be marked by the arrival in France of new assistants such as the Google Home Hub

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