Data collection and modelling are increasingly important in social science and science-based policy, but threaten to crowd out other ways of thinking. Economists recognize that markets embody and shed light on human sentiments. However, their ethical consequences have been difficult to interpret, let alone manage. Although economic mechanisms are changed by data intensity, they can be redesigned to restore their benefits. We conclude with four cautions: if data are good, more may not be better; scientifically desirable data properties may not help policy; consent is a double-edged tool; and data exist only because someone thought to capture and codify them.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘The ethical impact of data science’.
One contribution of 15 to a theme issue ‘The ethical impact of data science’.
- Accepted September 13, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.