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Discrimination, lack of diversity, & societal risks of data mining highlighted in big data

June 27, 2017

New Rochelle, June 27, 2017--A special issue of Big Data presents a series of insightful articles that focus on Big Data and Social and Technical Trade-Offs. Despite the dramatic growth in big data affecting many areas of research, industry, and society, there are risks associated with the design and use of data-driven systems. Among these are issues of discrimination, diversity, and bias, which are discussed in the papers in the special issue organized by Guest Editors Solon Barocas, Princeton University, danah boyd, Microsoft Research and Data & Society Research Institute, Sorelle Friedler, Haverford College, and Hanna Wallach, Microsoft Research and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Big Data is a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The special issue is available on the Big Data website.

Coauthors Bettina Berendt, University of Leuven, Belgium and Soren Preibusch, Microsoft Research, Cambridge, U.K., focus on how and why discrimination can be a problem with big data and decisions made by humans based on data-mining. In the article "Toward Accountable Discrimination-Aware Data Mining: The Importance of Keeping the Human in the Loop -- and Under the Looking Glass," the researchers present the results of a large-scale experiment in which human subjects described their reasoning for deciding whether or not a loan request should be granted. The authors offer strategies for making decision-making "discrimination-aware in an accountable way".

In the article entitled "Diversity in Big Data: A Review," coauthors Marina Drosou, Evaggelia Pitoura, University of Ioannina, Greece, HV Jagadish, University of Michigan, and Julia Stoyanovich, Drexel University, emphasize the risks big data may pose to society and individuals if it fails to account for diversity and potential discrimination. The authors discuss connections between diversity and fairness in big data systems research using specific applications such as the use of big data in matchmaking, crowdsourcing, and search and content recommendation.

Gina Neff, PhD, University of Oxford, U.K., Anissa Tanweer, Brittany Fiore-Gartland, PhD, and Laura Osburn, PhD, University of Washington, Seattle, discuss the multitude of challenges that confront data scientists and how they involve ethical issues in model development. In the article entitled "Critique and Contribute: A Practice-Based Framework for Improving Critical Data Studies and Data Science," the researchers highlight the importance of common criticisms of current data science. They present a strategy for addressing them, showing how to incorporate ethical issues in data science applications.

"This issue is a landmark for all data scientists," says Big Data Editor-in-Chief Vasant Dhar, Professor at the Stern School of Business and the Center for Data Science at New York University. "It is important for data scientists to be aware of the broader social and ethical aspects of their work, beginning with a critical analysis of the origins of data and issues such as the potential for creating further bias and discrimination in models derived from the data. It is important to understand how and why data were created, what they include and exclude, and when they might lead to systems that create undesirable consequences for society." He continues, "in this age of big data and automated decision-making systems, where there is often no human in the loop, it is important that we design such systems to take into account ethical and other social considerations associated with their use."
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About the Journal

Big Data, published quarterly online with open access options and in print, facilitates and supports the efforts of researchers, analysts, statisticians, business leaders, and policymakers to improve operations, profitability, and communications within their organizations. Spanning a broad array of disciplines focusing on novel big data technologies, policies, and innovations, the Journal brings together the community to address the challenges and discover new breakthroughs and trends living within this information. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Big Data (http://www.liebertpub.com/big) website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative medical and biomedical peer-reviewed journals, including OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology, Journal of Computational Biology, New Space, and 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's more than 80 journals, newsmagazines, and books is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website. (http://www.liebertpub.com/)

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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Young American Latinos report the most discrimination
Although the United States has seen a dramatic increase in Mexican and Latin American immigrants since 1970, a recent study by Penn State researchers is one of the few where perceived discrimination is examined in this population.
Physician moms are often subject to workplace discrimination
Of the nearly 6,000 physician mothers in the survey, nearly 78 percent reported discrimination of any type.
New tool reflects black men's experiences of police-based discrimination
Researchers have developed a new tool to catalog police and law enforcement interactions with black men, the Police and Law Enforcement (PLE) Scale, with the hope of documenting people's experiences and perceptions of police-based discrimination.
ASHG applauds passage of Canadian Genetic Non-Discrimination Act
The American Society of Human Genetics applauds yesterday's passage of S-201, the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, in a 222-60 vote by the Parliament of Canada's House of Commons.
Perceived weight discrimination linked to physical inactivity
People who feel that they have been discriminated against because of their weight are much less likely to be physically active than people who don't perceive that they have suffered any such stigmatization, according to new research led by UCL.
Study: More customer information can help Airbnb address discrimination
New research by an Indiana University Kelley School of Business professor suggests that companies in the sharing economy can eliminate discrimination by encouraging clients to write reviews and by designing better ways to share information that signals guest quality.
AGS statement on discrimination
The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) opposes discrimination against healthcare professionals or older people based on race, color, religion, gender (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), disability, age, or national origin.
Losing sleep over discrimination? 'Everyday discrimination' may contribute to sleep problems
People who perceive more discrimination in daily life have higher rates of sleep problems, based on both subjective and objective measures, reports a study in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, the official journal of the American Psychosomatic Society.
Study shows discrimination interacts with genetics and impacts health
It's no secret that discrimination is stressful for those who experience it, but turns out the issue is more than skin deep -- these stressors can interact with our genetics to negatively impact our health, a new University of Florida study shows.
Researchers explore how physicians can handle discrimination by patients, families
As part of a study, more than a dozen physicians were asked how they would advise their trainees to respond to three scenarios of discrimination, as well as how they would respond themselves.

Related Discrimination Reading:

Discrimination and Disparities
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Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination: 3rd Edition
by Mary E. Kite (Author), Bernard E. Whitley Jr. (Author)

For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law
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Examples & Explanations for Employment Discrimination
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Pattern Discrimination
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Visual Discrimination, Grades 2 - 8
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Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination
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Economic Facts and Fallacies, 2nd edition
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Wealth, Poverty and Politics
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Teaching Essential Discrimination Skills to Children with Autism: A Practical Guide for Parents & Educators (Woodbine House)
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