PhD-Workshop: ”Dealing with Value Tensions and Ethical Dilemmas in Information Systems Design” with Dr. Paula Helm

Based on the almost mythical promise that data-driven insights are the foundation for optimized processes, designs, and decisions, data has developed as an immensely powerful socioeconomic and political force over the past three decades. Consequently, much of our current information and knowledge infrastructures are built around the production, augmentation, processing, analyzing, interoperation, and benchmarking of data. In response, the field of Critical Data & Design Studies is concerned with demystifying these complex assemblages. It deconstructs the notion that data is a raw mass and thus an immediate reflection of reality, replacing it with an understanding of data as the product and catalyst of complex social practices that are not only contingent, but oozing with asymmetries of power. Responding to the acknowledgement of bias as an omnipresent fact of life and design, CDS is also concerned with how to translate relevant values into systems design and how to balance tensions between values, requirements, and interests during this process.

In addition to focusing on data and design, in this workshop, we will also address further-reaching ethical-political challenges that you may encounter during your work, by highlighting the role of entrenched informatics methodologies, modeling bias, and infrastructural dependencies as other relevant factors that require looking beyond data and design.

Dr. Paula Helm is a Research Fellow at the Research Center for Information System Design, the Research Unit Sociological Theory and the Graduate College „Privacy and Trust for Mobile Users“. Paula will give a talk on ethical complexity and IT design.


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