With Big Data Comes Big Responsibility

Executive Summit
Location: Mission City B1
Average rating: ***..
(3.22, 9 ratings)

This presentation is part of the "Executive Summit":https://conferences.oreilly.com/strata/strata2011/public/schedule/detail/17165.

Nothing is as alluring to a scientist as “discovery” – the thrill of looking at something that nobody has seen before; of deciphering a seemingly unsolvable problem. Likewise, nothing is as seductive to a business person as the promise of untold profit and the ability to knee cap one’s competition. And governments…please, don’t get me started.

The Big Data revolution promises myriad exciting discoveries about the behavior of genus Homo, unlocking individual and group dynamics that can offer incredible customer service, product development and social advances. But let’s face it – the point of understanding human behavior, at least for business and governments, is to intervene in order to encourage, stop, or redirect behavior. The temptation to manipulate behavior will be immense, and it will be fueled by hyper competitive markets.

Most all of us have a point where the squirm factor will kick in and make us think “Yeah I can do this, but should I”? Drawing from experiences from an earlier stage of predictive analytics, we challenge the audiences “squirm factor”, and begin a dialog on how data scientists and business people can begin developing an ethical framework to accompany the revolution.

Photo of John Fritz

John Fritz


John Fritz is a veteran of the “Complexity Wars”, having led Fortune 500 consulting engagements involving machine learning, agent based modeling, and evolutionary computing. Currently he leads AMD’s partnerships with leading virtualization, cloud computing, and big data companies. He also leads AMD’s engagement with key open source communities such as the Apache Software Foundation.

John started his academic career as an anthropologist, where a professor told him “If you want to experiment on people, go into business”! After graduation from The Thunderbird School of Global Management, he went on to business development and consulting roles at Borland, Gartner Group, 3Com and complex adaptive system start ups Bios Group and Icosystem.

John maintains everything he knows about corporate politics he learned from working with gorillas, orangutans and a particularly disrespectful pair of Mandrills at the Rio Grande Zoo.

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David Smith
02/01/2011 8:43am PST

Great Talk. Ethics without being pious.

Shoshanna Budzianowski
02/01/2011 8:40am PST

This is an important topic. We all needed a reminder of how our behavior as data scientists impacts the world.


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