The Masters Tools Will Never Dismantle the Masters House: New approaches to ethical issues in data

An Opinion Piece by Doug Specht, published by European Financial Review

As we try to grapple with ever more data, control has been handed to an ever growing number of poorly regulated tech companies who fail to store, collect, or use this data appropriately. The classical computational answers are no longer viable, instead we need more social sciences, and a lot more ethics.

We have a problem. It’s one that has been building for some time, one that we have seen coming, but one that has grown beyond control or measure. We are entering the age of Peak Data. More data is being generated by more technologies than ever before. And more data is being used to drive the social conditions of our lives, in turn creating more data through feedback loops. The films we watch and the music we listen to is now decided by digital algorithms that throw up suggestions and recommendations. Our friendship networks are facilitated through digital platforms which shoe-horn us into categories and groups. Decisions about where infrastructure should be build, or bus routes placed, are based upon millions of data points collected as people travel around cities. Almost every part of our day interacts with digital tools, through the data we provide, and through the decisions made by tech companies and data driven projects that pertain to make our lives better.

Doug Specht

About

Doug Specht is a Chartered Geographer (CGeog. FRGS) and a Senior Lecturer (SFHEA) at the Communication and Media Research Institute, within the University of Westminster. His research examines how knowledge is constructed and codified through digital and cartographic artefacts, focusing on development issues, and he has written on this subject in numerous books and papers. He has also spoken on topics of data ethics and mapping practices at conferences and invited lectures around the world. He is a member of the editorial board at Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, and sits on BSi committee IST/36 Geographic Information, where he focuses on geographic data in the SDGs. Doug is additionally a trustee of the Santa Rosa Fund, an educational charity; and a core member of the Environmental Network for Central America.

Details

Author
Date
23rd October 2019
Published By
European Financial Review
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