Societal Impact of AI & Data Science event
We spoke with Rector Magnificus Peter-Paul Verbeek and behavioural scientist Dr. Tessa Blanken about the outcomes of The Societal Impact of AI & Data Science. This because world-leading data scientists made some thought provoking statements, raising the question of what this means for the UvA.
For instance, professor Eva Méndez (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid) said: ‘Science is not about producing papers, it is about making impact.’
Professor Francesca Dominici (Harvard University) illustrated this with the example of data science providing scientific evidence that even greenhouse gas pollution levels that are widely considered ‘safe’ can be deadly, as the basis for policy change that actually results in less emissions and cleaner air.
Dr. Micaela Parker (Director Academic Data Science Alliance, Washington) stated that we need to integrate ethics directly into the data science process. She talked about ‘the Illusion of objectivity in machine-made decisions’. In this regard she posed the question: ‘Who has the power?’
Implications for researchers and students
Reflecting on the outcomes of this event, Rector Magnificus Peter-Paul Verbeek said: ‘We can't do science anymore without using data. Therefore we need data science as something that everyone is doing within our university.’
Researcher and Data Science Centre member Tessa Blanken added: ‘You can collaborate across disciplines by using this common language of data science’. UvA's Data Science Centre helps scientists and master students across all faculties in using data science methods and technologies in their work.
Data Science Centre
‘The Data Science Centre community is made up of data scientist, data engineers, researchers, and data stewards across all faculties of the University of Amsterdam. And through our platform our data scientists or community members can connect with each other, learn from each other, and collaborate with each other as well’, says Lisa Yu, Community Manager of the Data Science Centre
The Data Science Centre, part of the University Library, also supports the Digital Agenda, UvA’s digitisation strategy. Boy Menist, Information Manager Research and Operational Manager of the Data Science Centre: ‘The Digital Agenda says we have to support our scientists and offer them an excellent environment in which to do science, with ICT as well, and in the Data Science Centre we are bringing data science methods and technologies. And those two meet, because the one cannot live without the other.’