Explorative workshop on Big Data: Challenges and opportunities for epistemology and ethics?

Computer science and the rest of the natural and health sciences currently undergo changes in the direction of increased focus on “big data” and “machine learning”. These changes bring about opportunities and challenges for fields such as history, philosophy and social studies of science which should be capable of examining the associated epistemological and ethical aspects of the production of knowledge. How does big data actually enter into scientific practice and the organization of society? Do fundamentally new epistemological and ethical themes emerge, or can we adapt our established conceptions to handle this new mode of knowledge production? How does our notions of, e.g. privacy, modelling, explanation and classification fare when confronted with machine learning and big data?

These were some of the questions that we discussed in an explorative workshop, to get a better overview of the research done at selected Danish research institutions on such historical, philosophical and sociological topics related to big data and machine learning, and to facilitate future collaboration.

The workshop took place at the Department of Science Education, Øster Voldgade 3, Copenhagen on Wednesday January 24, 2018 between 11am and 3.30pm. 

The workshop was organized by Henrik Kragh Sørensen, Mikkel Willum Johansen and Sara Green as part of the Danish Network for History and Philosophy of Science.