Critical Systems Debates: Big Data, Algorithms, Research and the Question of Ethics

To mark the launch of a new strategic research area at the IT University of Copenhagen we invite everyone to the (first) Critical Systems Lecture and Debate.

Date: November 6th, 2014
Time: 13:00 – 17:00

Place: room 4A-58 at the ITU, Copenhagen (reception to follow)

The topic for this event is the ethics of research in collaboration with industry and reliance on industry data management practices, the possibilities of transparency of algorithms in data-driven decision-making and the implications of these questions for the future of big data in research and practice. The event will include two presentations followed by a panel debate and questions from the floor plus a reception after that.

Participants in this debate:
Jeff Hancock (Professor in the Departments of Communication and Information Science at Cornell University) who most recently gained notoriety as one of the authors of the Facebook emotion study. Professor Hancock will discuss the Facebook Emotion study and step through several aspects of the study that involve important ethical decision points, and provide some insights on why the study generated such massive attention and criticism. Lastly, he will discuss some of the personal costs, opportunities and lessons associated with this level and kind of controversy.

Rasmus Pagh (Professor in the Theoretical Computer Science section at the IT University of Copenhagen) who has recently received a prestigious ERC to improve theory and practice of algorithms for high-dimensional similarity search on big data. Professor Pagh will discuss how we might ensure the transparency that makes people trust that big data is being used in a fair and ethical way.

Rachel Douglas Jones (Assistant Professor in the Inter Section at the IT University of Copenhagen) was trained as an anthropologist and STS scholar at the University of Cambridge, Harvard University and Durham University. Dr. Jones research explores the notion of ethics in research and she is interested in big data, decision-making practices that rely on data and the attendant algorithms charged with making it usable. She will serve as a discussant for the debate.

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