Case Study: How DataKind Walked Back a Project When Ethical Issues Arose
Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
Discovering an incomplete data trail after investing time and resources
Jan. 25, 2022
5 - 6 p.m. Coordinated Universal Time
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Registration closes Jan. 25, 2022 5:30 p.m. Coordinated Universal Time
Data scientists often set out to make a positive impact—generating insights upon which organizations can make decisions. A key aspect of that work is ensuring that data is being collected, managed, and analyzed ethically. But as conversations about ethical data science increase, so do questions about how ethics in data science looks in practice: When do you do an ethics check? And what do you do if something seems off?
Join us for this Case Study with DataKind’s Afua Bruce and Rachel Wells to hear what happened when their team faced an ethical challenge during a project that used social media data. While wrapping up the project, the team found out that they didn’t have full information on how the data was obtained. Faced with the decision about whether to deliver the project to the partner when the data trail was incomplete, DataKind reviewed the data source’s use policies, unpacked the trade-offs of different approaches, and carefully communicated with all stakeholders to eventually terminate the project. Afua and Rachel take you through the decision-making process, trade-offs, outcomes, and lessons learned from this project experience; highlight the importance of a data trail and evaluating where all data sources come from; and explain how to walk back a data science solution and project when ethical issues arise.
O'Reilly Case Study sessions explore how organizations have overcome common challenges in business and technology through a series of one-hour interactive events. You’ll engage in a live conversation with experts, sharing your questions and challenges while hearing their unique perspectives, insights, and lessons learned.
What you’ll learn and how you can apply it
- Learn the importance of a data trail and evaluating where all data sources come from
- Understand how to raise questions about and advocate for data ethics, security, and protecting people’s personal data
- Identify ways to ensure ethical checks happen continuously and that the checks impact use decisions
This live event is for you because…
- You’re a data science manager, decision maker, or consultant.
- You partner with other organizations on data science projects.
- Come with your questions for Afua Bruce and Rachel Wells
- Have a pen and paper handy to capture notes, insights, and inspiration
- Read 97 Things About Ethics Everyone in Data Science Should Know (book)
- Watch Spotlight on Learning from Failure: Data Ethics Is Good Business with Heather Krause (video)
- Read What Is Data Governance? Understanding the Business Impact (report)
The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing.
Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at 9:00am PT / 12:00pm ET
- Introduction and presentation (30 minutes)
- Interactive discussion and Q&A (30 minutes)
Afua Bruce is the chief program officer at DataKind, a global nonprofit that harnesses the power of data science and AI in the service of humanity. Afua leads DataKind's product offerings, center of excellence, volunteer community, and chapter network to partner with social sector organizations. Previously, Afua was the director of engineering for New America's Public Interest Technology Program, overseeing projects in technology and policy to improve outcomes in criminal justice reform, foster care, immigration, the opioid epidemic, and more. She also supervised the Public Interest Technology University Network. Before that, she spent several years leading science and technology strategy and program management in the federal government—as the executive director of the White House's National Science and Technology Council and in a variety of positions at the FBI. She started her career as a software engineer at IBM. Afua holds a degree in computer engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. She’s currently a Technology and Public Purpose Project fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center.
Rachel Wells currently leads DataKind’s Center of Excellence as its Senior Manager. She launched the Center of Excellence in 2020 as a cross-disciplinary team of experts dedicated to creating an ecosystem of quality, ethics, innovation, learning, impact, data, and community across DataKind's programs and global network. Wells has spent her career working in data science, international development, impact evaluation, capacity building, quality assurance, and training, at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), IBM, and other organizations. She studied mathematics, statistics, and public affairs. Before joining staff at DataKind, she was a long-time volunteer with DataKind’s Washington DC chapter, where she still lives.