Controversies in the Data Society

A seminar series presented by the Edinburgh Futures Institute in association with Science Technology and Innovation Studies

The extraordinary growth and pervasiveness of born-digital ‘big data’ from administrative and commercial systems, and the deployment of ‘data science’ is generating fierce controversy. For example, over the unprecedented dataveillance powers provided by the UK Investigatory Powers Act; Concerns over how to regulate AI;  profiling and sorting of immigrants using social media data; the ‘sharing’ of large-scale data sets of health records without consent; the use of social media platforms to spread political propaganda; and the protests, court cases and legislation around algorithmically-mediated services such as Uber or Airbnb.

This series of research-led seminars will provide insights from leading researchers across the University of Edinburgh, addressing issues that will shape future ‘data-led’ innovation, a key strategic theme of the Edinburgh Futures Institute, the Usher Institute and the Bayes Institute. Each seminar will include two talks, and provide time for discussion. The series can be followed by postgraduate students for credit, and student participants will work to map the issues and relationships between identified in the seminars, and future directions for research and policy activities.

Upcoming Events (2022)

Friday 28 January – 15:00-17:30pm – The Surveillance Influence Infrastructure – the material politics of targeted advertising, and its uses and misuses by government – featuring Prof Donald MacKenzie & Dr Ben Collier

Friday 04 February – 15:00-17:30pm – Privacy, Agency and COVID tracking: East Asia Perspectives – featuring Prof Charles Raab, Dr Fumi Kitagawa & Dr Morgan Currie

Friday 11 February – 15:00-17:30pm – Cybersecurity: Global and Local challenges – featuring Prof Ross Anderson & Dr Kami Vaniea

Friday 04 March – 15:00-17:30pm – Designing mathematical models that shape out lives – featuring Prof Chris Dent & Dr Atoosa Kasirzadeh

Friday 11 March – 15:00-17:30pm – Public and professional understanding of AI – featuring Dr Bronwyn Jones

Friday 18 March – 15:00-17:30pm – Emotional AI – mind reading computers? – featuring Dr Lachlan Urquhart & Benedetta Catanzariti

Postponed – Friday 25 March – 15:00-17:30pm – The future of work today – featuring Prof Abigail Marks & Dr Karen Gregory.

This seminar has been postponed due to industrial action in the higher education sector. We are looking to reschedule this and will confirm a new date in due course.

Friday 01 April – 15:00-17:30pm – AI harms and governance: NLP and the AI Reg – featuring Nina Markl & Prof Lilian Edwards

Friday 08 April – 15:00-17:30pm – Misinformation – featuring Aybuke Atalay, Ricardo Ribeiro Ferreira & Dr Chris Barrie

University Members can see the series online : 

Upcoming Controversies in the Data Society Seminar Events