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Ethics and Social Implications of Data Science

Information on all members of society now exists in various databases, and the ability to analyze enormous amounts of data is reshaping how governments, businesses and other entities made decisions. However, ethical standards for data designed for a pre-computer age are of limited utility, and the use of “big data” raises a host of social and ethical questions.

In conjunction with the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute and Division of Social Sciences, the Institute for Practical Ethics sponsored an inagural workshop in February 2019 addressing the rise of big data: the combination of the production and retrieval of large amounts of digital information with powerful algorithms on a hardware platform of ever-increasing capacity.

The workshop gathered social and computer scientists, activists and practitioners interested in the ethics and policy implications of this technological revolution.

These industry leaders surveyed the achievements, promises and technical challenges of big data, its effects on social inequalities and democracy, the cultural shift it is generating in the way we value knowledge, create art and conduct science, and the ways we may control it and influence its progress.

Working Group on Data Analytic Governance and Accountability

Governance and accountability are important because governments are adopting data analytic technologies to maintain social order and to enhance or replace existing instruments of regulation and social control, just as markets are relying more and more on data analytics to organize economic activity. 

As a result, algorithms are deployed often without transparency or accountability. Most data analytic tools are “dual use,” allowing for socially beneficial and socially pernicious uses.

Important issues in this domain include: data privacy and security, algorithmic fairness and discrimination, the replacement of human discussion and deliberation with narrowly focused algorithmic decision making, the masking of human decision making with data analytic operations, the lack of transparency and interpretability of algorithmic processes, and the various unintended consequences of the deployment of new information technology for social ends.

To understand how these powerful tools work and to ensure that they are applied in ways that enhance rather than curtail human agency, social justice, democracy and economic development, we must articulate and investigate how data analytics govern and transform social life.

Working Group Members

Amanda Datnow

Amanda Datnow

Department of Education Studies

Kelly Gates

Kelly Gates

Department of Communication

Caroline Jack iamge

Caroline Jack

Department of Communication

Irani iamge

Lilly Irani

Department of Communication

Navon iamge

Daniel Navon

Department of Sociology

Pardo Guerra iamge

Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra

Department of Sociology

Rajogopalan iamge

Ramya Rajogopalan

Institute for Practical Ethics

Roberts iamge

Margaret Roberts

Department of Political Science

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Akos Rona-Tas

Department of Sociology

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Kamala Visweswaran

Department of Ethnic Studies

Working Group Events

***CANCELED***

Event: Data Governance and Accountability Working Group
Title: Can Exposure to Celebrities Reduce Prejudice? The Effect of Mohamed Salah on Islamophobic Behaviors and Attitudes
Date: Thursday, March 5, 2020
Time: 3:00 to 4:30 pm
Location:  SSB 107

Speaker: Dr. Alexandra Siegel, Stanford University.

Can exposure to successful celebrities from a stigmatized group reduce prejudice toward that group writ large? We study the sudden and phenomenal rise to fame of Liverpool F.C. soccer star Mohamed Salah, a visibly Muslim player, to answer this question. We estimate the causal effect of Salah joining Liverpool F.C. on Islamophobia using hate crime reports throughout England, 15 million tweets from British soccer fans, and a Facebook survey experiment of Liverpool fans. We find that Merseyside county (home to Liverpool F.C.) experienced a 16% drop in hate crimes, compared to a synthetic control. There is no similar effect for other types of crime. We also find that Liverpool fans halved their rates of posting anti-Muslim tweets relative to fans of other top-flight clubs. The survey experiment suggests these results may be driven by increased familiarity with Islam. Our findings indicate that positive exposure to outgroup role models can increase tolerance. Coauthors: Ala' Alrababa'h, William Marble, and Salma Mousa.

A social hour with refreshments will be held at Soda & Swine after the lecture.

To RSVP, please contact Tara Nadeau at tlnadeau@ucsd.edu  

This working group is supported through partnerships with the Division of Arts & Humanities, Halicioglu Data Science Institute, and the Program in Science Studies.


***CANCELED***

Event: Data Governance and Accountability Working Group
Title: Introduction to Collecting and Analyzing Social Media Data
Date: Friday, March 6, 2020
Time: 10:00 to 11:30 am
Location:  Atkinson Hall 5004

Speaker: Dr. Alexandra Siegel, Stanford University.

This workshop offers an introduction to collecting and analyzing social media data, highlighting the advantages---as well as the practical and ethnical challenges---of using this data for social science research. It introduces participants to tools for collecting and analyzing data from Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Reddit, and Instagram, emphasizing applied examples and opportunities for future research.  

To RSVP, please contact Tara Nadeau at tlnadeau@ucsd.edu  

This working group is supported through partnerships with the Division of Arts & Humanities, Halicioglu Data Science Institute, and the Program in Science Studies.


 

Event: Nudges, Preferences, and Social Interventions Conference
Date: Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4, 2020
Time: See PDF schedule
Location: The Village 15th Floor, Tower West, Room 15-A

This event is a meeting of the SoCal Agency and Responsibility Conference (SCAR). The conference theme is "Nudges, Preferences, and Social Interventions.” The goal is to capitalize on the expertise and interests in agency and responsibility among Southern California philosophers, and to bring those interests and expertise to bear on work by leading researchers reflecting on the nature and moral implications of interventions that shape preferences and choices.

Please see the full schedule for more information.

RSVP to Prof. Manuel Vargas, Philosophy Department, mrvargas@ucsd.edu 

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Practical Ethics.


Event: Data Governance and Accountability Working Group
Title: Lecture (Title TBA)
Date: Thursday, April 9, 2020
Time: 3:00 to 4:30 pm
Location:  TBA

Guest speaker: Prof. Sareeta Amrute, University of Washington.

A social hour with refreshments will be held at Soda & Swine after the lecture.

To RSVP, please contact Tara Nadeau at tlnadeau@ucsd.edu  

This working group is supported through partnerships with the Division of Arts & Humanities, Halicioglu Data Science Institute, and the Program in Science Studies.


Event: Data Governance and Accountability Working Group
Title: Interactive Workshop (Title TBA)
Date: Friday, April 10, 2020
Time: 10:00 to 11:30 am
Location:  TBA

Guest speaker: Prof. Sareeta Amrute, University of Washington.

To RSVP, please contact Tara Nadeau at tlnadeau@ucsd.edu  

This working group is supported through partnerships with the Division of Arts & Humanities, Halicioglu Data Science Institute, and the Program in Science Studies.


Event: Data Governance and Accountability Working Group
Title: Lecture (Title TBA)
Date: Thursday, April 16, 2020
Time: 3:00 to 4:30 pm
Location:  TBA

Guest speaker: Prof. Craig Robertson, Northeastern University.

A social hour with refreshments will be held at Soda & Swine after the lecture.

To RSVP, please contact Tara Nadeau at tlnadeau@ucsd.edu  

This working group is supported through partnerships with the Division of Arts & Humanities, Halicioglu Data Science Institute, and the Program in Science Studies.


Event: Data Governance and Accountability Working Group
Title: Lecture (Title TBA)
Date: Monday, May 11, 2020
Time: 12:15 to 1:45 pm
Location:  TBA

Guest speaker: Dr. Kadija Ferryman, Researcher/Mozilla Fellow, Data & Society

To RSVP, please contact Tara Nadeau at tlnadeau@ucsd.edu  

This working group is supported through partnerships with the Division of Arts & Humanities, Halicioglu Data Science Institute, and the Program in Science Studies.


Event: Data Governance and Accountability Working Group
Title: Lecture (Title TBA)
Date: Monday, May 18, 2020
Time: 12:15 to 1:45 pm
Location:  TBA

Guest speaker: Dr. Sarah E. Sachs, Cornell University.

To RSVP, please contact Tara Nadeau at tlnadeau@ucsd.edu  

This working group is supported through partnerships with the Division of Arts & Humanities, Halicioglu Data Science Institute, and the Program in Science Studies.


Event: Data Governance and Accountability Working Group
Title: Interactive Workshop (Title TBA)
Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Time: TBA
Location:  TBA

Guest speaker: Dr. Sarah E. Sachs, Cornell University.

To RSVP, please contact Tara Nadeau at tlnadeau@ucsd.edu  

This working group is supported through partnerships with the Division of Arts & Humanities, Halicioglu Data Science Institute, and the Program in Science Studies.