Meg Drouhard and Sarah Nelson have planned a discussion of “democratization of data science”: the idea that with powerful tools accessible to broader populations, the “power” of data analysis and data visualization is in the hands of lay people. This, predictably, makes some people excited about “empowerment” and “democratization.” However, others worry that there may be a misalignment between the discourse and the reality of how data are collected and used, and tools that are easily portable/accessible don’t convey the contextual knowledge that may be needed to interpret results appropriately. In other words, people are able to participate in these systems or activities without full understanding of the consequences of their participation. In this discussion, we hope to address the responsibilities of experts to recognize and engage with these concerns.
We’ll be joined by guest speaker, Kelly Edwards. Dr. Edwards serves as the Associate Dean for Student and Postdoctoral Affairs in the University of Washington Graduate School, Professor in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities at the UW School of Medicine, adjunct faculty in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, and Co-director of the Community Outreach and Ethics Core for the NIEHS-funded Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health. She received an M.A. in Medical Ethics and a PhD in Philosophy of Education from the University of Washington, Seattle.
For anyone who would like a little current context for our discussion, there was a convening last month in the Research Triangle to discuss the future of citizen science, including the ethical considerations. This link has abstracts of all talks and links to their presentations if you see any for which you’d like to go deeper.