Gry Hasselbalch

Gry Hasselbalch

PhD fellow

Data Ethics of Power - A Human-Centric Approach to Big Data and AI


In the wake of a rapid technological development in which digitally collected, stored and procesed data have become defining factors in society, human and ethical dilemmas emerge. This study explores a social process that is taking place to negotiate global standards, roles, rights and responsibilities to create a new trust system to manage the risks of a data-saturated environment with an emphasis on ethics, human empowerment and agency.

The value of human agency and the way in which we in society interpret and deal with its enshrined implications are defined in contexts of technological, social, economic and cultural developments. The current technological evolution of datadriven, increasingly autonomous, machine to machine decisionmaking systems that permeate all areas of our everyday lives and shape our human realitities, urges us to revisit our understanding of what it means to be human and the role of human agency.

A current social critique is concerned with the increasing data asymmetry between individuals and the institutions that collect and process citizen data. It projects an image of a technological progress shaped by powerful industries, states, and even intelligent machines, and calls for the development of a human centric meta narrative to sculpt the development of alternative technologies, systems and legal frameworks. Concurrently, the recent major data leaks, hacks, surveillance scandals, media reports of political micro targeting and fake news campaigns have created a context of popular public scrutiny into the challenges of the big data era.   

The “data ethical paradigm shift” (Hasselbalch, Tranberg, 2016) is taking the shape of a social movement, a cultural shift and a technological and legal development that increasingly places human agency at the center. The study focuses on emerging discourse coalitions concerning data ethics in the big data era and their  processes of institutionalization in policy, law, governance and data innovation practices. The ultimate aim of the study is to create transparency in the ongoing negotiation processes of data ethics.

Supervisor: Jens-Erik Mai


ID: 182568362