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Emmanuel Letouzé at the W-JAX 2015

W-JAX 2015 Keynote: Big Data, Ethics, Politics and Human Rights

JAX Editorial Team

It’s been 10 years since Big Data made the rounds for the first time as a mainstream concept and many questions are still unanswered. Emmanuel Letouzé, in his W-JAX Keynote, looks at the relationship between data, ethics, politics and human rights.

Less than a decade after Big Data emerged as a mainstream concept raising both significant excitement and skepticism, and just over two years into the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the activities of the US National Surveillance Agency, many hard questions remain to be properly asked and addressed about Big Data’s potential to foster positive social change.

Individual privacy is rightfully mentioned in all discussions on the topic, but other ethical and legal aspects are often overlooked; human capacity gaps and “data literacy” needs are thankfully gaining growing attention, but their conceptualisation tends to be too narrow; the societal applications and implications of future technological advances are being considered, but history teaches us that they are largely unpredictable and require developing adaptive and inclusive systems.

In his W-JAX 2015 Keynote, Emmanuel Letouzé attempts to place these questions within a coherent conceptual and contextual framework, connecting and contrasting as much as possible their ethical, political and legal dimensions.

Letouzé is the director and co-founder of Data-Pop Alliance. He is a visiting scholar at MIT Media Lab, a fellow at HHI, a senior research associate at ODI, a non-resident adviser at the International Peace Institute, and a PhD candidate (ABD) in Demography at UC Berkeley.

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