Negotiating a New Social Contract for Digital Data

Barbara Fister, Inside Higher Ed, Jul 31, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I know my article from yesterday on what I learned from philosophy can be tough sledding, but seriously, it's a Rosetta Stone for understanding pretty much everything in our field. Consider the present post. The focus is on big data, and yes, that is the topic. But how is it that a new 'social contract' would work with respect to big data? Would we (and by 'we' I mean you and me) ever actually negotiate such a thing? I agree, and probably so does everyone else, that "there is a lot of good stuff that can come from using large data sets, but we need to figure out who gets to decide which uses are beneficial." But how do we get from there to here? It will take more than government transparency, regulations, and self-education.

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