Data scientists have always had a significant impact on the world. They can help discover new things and solve complex problems through data. But today, more than ever, data scientists are becoming critical players in the fight for human rights.
Data Science and Human Rights
When we think about the ethical considerations of data science, we tend to focus on privacy and security, but we must also consider how we treat our study subjects. Data scientists are responsible for ensuring they are collecting data ethically and creating meaningful and impactful solutions from the numbers.
Data scientists can help protect human rights by analyzing data to uncover patterns of abuse, identify potential allies, and track progress. For example, data scientists used satellite imagery and other sources to uncover mass graves in Syria. Future Wake, an American/Dutch tech company, is also using artificial intelligence to uncover the truth behind police brutality in the United States.
But there’s another side to this story: data scientists can also be complicit in human rights violations and should carefully consider how they use their skills.
The Ethics of Data Science
As our world increasingly relies on data, it’s vitally important to be aware of how it can be misused. Data science is a discipline that seeks to understand the world by analyzing data. As such, data scientists must consider the ethics of their work.
It’s never been easier to collect and analyze information on large groups of people. While this has led to remarkable advances in medicine and agriculture, it has also created new opportunities for abuse. For example, government agencies have used data science to profile and target minority groups, and private companies have used it to manipulate people’s emotions and opinions.
Data scientists must care about human rights because they are the ones who are developing the tools that allow these abuses to occur. If you want to support ethical data science that protects human rights, here are five ways you can take action against abuse:
- Be transparent about how data is collected and used.
- Allow people to opt out of data collection if they wish.
- Do not use data for illegal or unethical purposes.
- Protect people’s privacy by anonymizing data whenever possible.
- Educate others about the importance of responsible data use.
With new technologies like machine learning, we have a unique opportunity to use data to improve the lives of everyone. As we move into this new age, we must do everything possible to ensure that bias doesn’t creep into our systems, and one of the most effective ways to prevent bias is through research and development.
AIRL focuses on enterprise-ready solutions built for the future. The goal is to create product features, prototypes, and patentable solutions on a large scale so that the industry can implement AI solutions more quickly and effectively.
Data science is a powerful field that has the potential to lead the human rights movement forward. However, unconscious biases do exist, and it’s up to individual data scientists to be mindful of these so that in the instance that they do come up, they can be rectified.