Checking date: 15/07/2023

Course: 2023/2024

Social and Ethical Issues of Big Data & AI
Master in Computational Social Science (Plan: 472 - Estudio: 375)

Coordinating teacher: GENOVA FUSTER, GONZALO

Department assigned to the subject: Computer Science and Engineering Department, Social Sciences Department

Type: Compulsory
ECTS Credits: 3.0 ECTS


- Ability to understand and identify the new challenges faced by the Social Sciences in the digital world. - Ability to understand and analyze individual and collective aspects of human behavior in the digital world. - Ability to understand and analyze the emerging social mechanisms in a hyperconnected and globalized world. - Ability to understand and analyze the consequences of technology on social relations. - Knowledge of good practices in ethical data management.
Skills and learning outcomes
Description of contents: programme
1. Ethics in Computational Social Sciences - What is ethics? Ethics as good life and as social peace. - Freedom as a radical constitutive of the human being and as an observable phenomenon in the social sciences - Personal responsibility before the psychological influence of the environment - The rationality of ethics: public ethics and private ethics. Is it possible to reason about right and wrong? - Social engineering: responsibility before the transformations of society 2. Real-world effects and unintended consequences of algorithmic systems - Programmed algorithmic ethics and learned algorithmic ethics - How to assess the predictability of consequences in ethical decisions (human and algorithmic) - Should we be afraid of artificial intelligence? 3. Surveillance capitalism - Qui prodest? Who benefits from my searches? - Technology companies: economic sustainability and creation of addictions - How to ensure that technology does not turn against us 4. Legislation and protection of personal data and privacy - The European model versus the North American and Chinese models - Something to hide? What is sensitive data, and why is it sensitive - Why the ethical commitment of large corporations alone is not enough, and why legislation and external control alone is not enough
Learning activities and methodology
Training Activities: - Theoretical classes - Theoretical-practical classes - Tutorials - Group work - Individual student work Teaching Methods: - Presentations in the professor's lecture room with computer and audiovisual support, in which the main concepts of the subject are developed and a bibliography is provided to complement the students' learning. - Critical reading of texts recommended by the subject professor: Press articles, reports, manuals and/or academic articles, either for later discussion in class, or to expand and consolidate knowledge of the subject. - Resolution of practical cases, problems, etc. raised by the professor, either individually or in a group. - Presentation and discussion in class, under the moderation of the professor, of topics related to the content of the subject, as well as practical case studies. - Developing pieces of work and reports, individually or in group. - Seminars/lectures by national and international experts, in face-to-face or remote synchronous sessions.
Assessment System
  • % end-of-term-examination 0
  • % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals...) 100
Basic Bibliography
  • Broussard, Meredith. Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. The MIT Press. 2018
  • Collman, Jeff, Sorin Adam Matei (eds.). Ethical Reasoning in Big Data: an exploratory analysis. Springer. 2013
  • Peirano, Marta. The enemy knows the system. Madrid: Debate. 2019
  • Uwe Engel, Anabel Quan-Haase, Sunny Xun Liu, Lars E Lyberg (eds.). Handbook of Computational Social Science, Volume 1. Theory, Case Studies and Ethics. Routledge. 2021
  • Véliz, Carissa. Privacy is Power: Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data. London: Bantam Press. 2020
  • Zuboff, Shoshana. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. New York: Public Affairs. 2019
Recursos electrónicosElectronic Resources *
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The course syllabus may change due academic events or other reasons.