Cyber Center

Cyber Center Lecture Series

October 30, 2014

ANTICIPATING ETHICAL CONTROVERSY IN BIG DATA

“Big Data” means many things to many people.  This talk will explore themes about ethical reasoning in Big Data that have emerged in an interdisciplinary, collaborative project between scholars at Purdue University, Georgetown University, Stevens Institute of Technology and the Association of American Geographers.  What does the term “Big Data” mean?  How does “Big Data” differ from “Small Data” with respect to its production, use and interpretation, particularly in scientific research? How do the ethical implications of issues such as privacy vary across the range of communities working with Big Data?  What are the implications of key ethical principles such as the principles of beneficence, trust  or social justice for Big Data and do they also vary across the range of communities?  The talk will consider several case examples as points of reflection with respect to all these issues.   The talk begins with the premise that none of these questions has ready answers in the Big Data domain and argues that we should start discussing them now before major new ethical controversies emerge with the application of Big Data methods in scientific research.

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