Big data use, whether by business, non-profits or governments, brings with it major ethical issues. These range from issues surrounding the protection of privacy of individual information to the dangers of errors in predictive models to the ways algorithms can unintentionally reproduce inequality. Big data practitioners throughout the Northeast need to consider ethical concepts such as fairness and individual autonomy, and many of them are striving to know how best to do this. The Responsible Data Science Spoke is working to bring together practitioners and ethicists from the region to discuss issues and to work define a set of shared ethical questions and, then, to develop materials to help practitioners and regulators address them.
Reflective of the diversity of big data practitioners, the group draws from the multiple backgrounds, practices, and expertise present in the Hub: from wide-ranging academic disciplines with different research norms and emphases, to the best practices of industry, government, and civil society partners. The work of the Responsible Data Science Spoke is complementary to the Privacy & Security Spoke, approaching issues such as privacy from a more policy-oriented perspective.