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The Ethics of Big Data Analytics under Opacity

Date:
Monday 03 April 2017

There is a ‘big data’ analytics revolution going on – how can we make sure it respects values and serves societal needs? Prof Muller considers that big data operates under an epistemic condition of ‘opacity’ where agents cannot know what information could be extracted from a dataset. Consequently, the traditional tools for both finding what is ethically right and enforcing it, cannot be used. Big data has potential to do significant harm, while at the same time weakening our ways to prevent such harm: we need a new ethics for big data. Prof Muller will share his vision of such ethics.

Though 'Big Data' held about all of us by the NHS and other organisations has huge potential for medical research to benefit us all, it also poses substantial risks of security breaches and of confidential data being hacked and sold for marketing purposes. Besides these very practical issues, there are broader philosophical questions such as "Who actually owns the data?" and "Is implied consent for use of 'big data' sufficient?"  We are fortunate in having a leading expert in the field such as Prof Muller to help us understand the issues at stake and to find out if "Big Brother" is indeed watching us in the NHS and elsewhere. Trevor Stammers, Co-director of the Centre for Bioethics and Emerging Technologies

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Date:
Monday 03 April 2017

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For more information about this event please email trevor.stammers@stmarys.ac.uk.

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