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Posted on 1st June 2019
Big data sparks ethical debate

Professor Nada Kakabadse of Henley Business School has given a presentation on the increasingly important subject of 'Ethics, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI)' to students at Shanghai University

Examining the relationship between ethics and innovation, Nada explained how extremely large online information files, otherwise known as 'big data,' are being computer-analysed to reveal patterns, trends and behaviours for economic gain. 

She explained: "Big data is resulting in crucial decisions that impact our everyday lives, leading to questions about accuracy, fairness and discrimination.

"For example, recent technological advances are giving companies significant details about medical diagnosis, loan approvals, employment choices and crime-prevention. All of this is being driven by a desire to gain deep insight into user-behaviour and maximise profits.

"Ultimately we face a decision between science and technology, which dictates what we can do, and morality, which asks what we should do?"

Nada recommended that both business leaders and their employees should set an example by applying ethical decision-making to their day-to-day work, and influencing others around them to do the same.

She concluded: "Education is a crucial part of this process and we all need to become more aware of what big data means, and the consequences of how AI can analyse and act upon our personal information.

"This can only be achieved by each of us reviewing the data we currently provide, questioning how our information will be used, and learning how to better control AI systems."

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