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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Data Ethics

Photo of DJ Patil

Photo of DJ Patil

Materials for Courses and Companies, and An Upcoming Talk by DJ Patil

Irina Raicu

Irina Raicu is the director of the Internet Ethics program at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.  Views are her own.

On September 24 at noon, the Ethics Center will co-host DJ Patil, who, during the Obama administration, served as the first chief data scientist of the U.S. His talk is titled “How to Do Good AI and Data Science (By Living Your Ethics).” The event is free and open to the public (registration is requested).

Patil will discuss the intersection between ethical ideas and practice in the field of data science, as well as ways to develop corporate cultures that embed considerations of data ethics. Earlier this month, he and two co-authors published a concise ebook on the subject: Ethics and Data Science is free and available under a Creative Commons license. (In a post on Medium highlighting its release, Patil invites others to contribute to the project as well—with updates to be posted on O’Reilly Radar’s Ethics Series.)

The book includes a model checklist for the development of data products, as well as framing guidelines, and features suggestions for ways to embed ethics into product development—beginning with “interviewing talent for cultural fit as well as ethical fit.”

These days, the interviewing for ethical fit seems to go both ways: in Silicon Valley, the talent, too, seems to be looking for companies whose products and principles they value and agree with.

Data scientists continue to be in high demand, and the importance of addressing data ethics is reflected in new courses and initiatives being developed in many colleges and universities.  As one of several Santa Clara University efforts in this area, in February the Ethics Center published a free online resource for data science courses: An Introduction to Data Ethics. Authored by our colleague Shannon Vallor, a renowned technology ethicist, this module features an overview, homework assignments, relevant case studies, and more.

In addition, we recently released a compendium of materials for ethics training programs in tech companies; like DJ Patil’s e-book, these materials, titled Ethics in Technology Practice, are free and available under a Creative Commons license.

We look forward to an inspiring conversation on September 24—and to feedback on any of the materials detailed above!

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Sep 20, 2018

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