Kurz notiert: »Societal Implications of Big Data«

21. Dezember 2017

Der im Kontext des Arbeitskreises Soziologie des ABIDA-Projekts entstandene Überblicksartikel »Societal Implications of Big Data« lässt sich nun auf den Seiten der Zeitschrift KI – Künstliche Intelligenz (Springerlink) abrufen.

Modern societies have developed a variety of technologies and techniques to identify, measure and influence people and objects. […] Since 2015, a group of German social scientists has conducted the research project ›Assessing Big Data‹ (ABIDA) with the objective to analyze the societal implications of Big Data—particularly elaborating the question, in what way and to what extent modern technologies of data analysis entail novel societal benefits and risks that differ from previous socio-technical configurations. This paper sets out to discuss a couple of theses concerning this question.

Social scienceEngineering / Data science
GoalsSearch for explanation why something happens; develop theorySearch for accurate prediction of what happens; create algorithm
FocusExplanationPractical relevance
BeliefsData are biasedData have ground truth cases

After a short retrospective of digital data analysis, we lay out various applications of data analytics in the light of distinct research cultures between data science and social science. Subsequently, we elaborate how self-tracking and real-time control of complex systems on the basis of data analytics create new individual and collective practices that shape modern societies. As these practices bear many risks for individual rights and collective achievements, we finally shed light on various propositions for the regulation of Big Data. Our argument is that Big Data, real-time analysis and feedback loops increasingly foster a society of (self-)control. But at the same time, these technologies are highly contentious and set the stage for conflict—be it between academic disciplines or different political worldviews.