Sign up FAST! Login

How Ethical is Your Big Data?

data ethics

The extensive use of Big Data has begun to worry some consumers, many of whom find this whole targeted advertising thing a bit ‘creepy’ to say the least.  Remember the Target incident wherein the retailer was the one to deliver the news to a father that his teenage daughter was pregnant, via coupons for baby products based on the past purchases of his daughter?  Was it right for Target to do this or did it overstep the boundaries? And what are those boundaries anyway?

Stashed in: Ethics, Wait, What?

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

I have been chatting recently to various people steeped in Big Data on this topic. "Data Rabbi" was a term that I liked very much - the Data Rabbi would provide some moral guidance not only on privacy issues (which I consider relatively easy to make the moral call), but more on the insights and whether the insight is ethical. For example, the FICO score is a very imperfect algorithm that was created when actuals data was scarce and difficult to aggregate across some very disparate sources - the FICO score has actually created a class of underbanked individuals who may be good customers who would be able and would pay off their loans. The Data Rabbi would examine not only the ethics, but also the resulting fidelity of the data science with regard to the real-world problem it was trying to solve. 

rabbi cat frowns on your shenanigans

Is it up to all data scientists to find the rabbi within? Or is it better to appoint someone to the role?

You May Also Like: