Webinar: Data Ethics – What is it and why does it matter?

Event Details

Webinar: Data Ethics: What is it and why does it matter?
Via Zoom Link (registration required)
Wednesday 5th May 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm AEST (2:00pm-3:00pm NZST)

The use of data and AI-informed technologies in ever more contexts of our personal and professional lives sees human experience transformed into social data, raising questions about the privileging of data as evidence and ‘truth’. Behind every data point is a human being and a value-laden chain of activities inviting more thoughtful consideration about who/how/what is counted. How the decision about what/who is worth counting takes shape even before the analytic measures upon which those algorithms are let loose are designed. In an increasingly datafied world, how then should we move forward with our data abstractions while remaining vigilant to ways we can give greater voice to the people and communities represented in that data?

Critical data studies bring into the open a core message that data does not speak for itself, but rather, is given a voice by the people and the algorithms that play increasingly critical roles in the transformation of data into insight. Assumptions about the value of attributes in a data set can perpetuate prejudice and inequity, with those marginalised becoming further disenfranchised. A growing number of cases demonstrate how algorithms have replicated or even exacerbated inequalities in the ways that different demographic groups are treated. What’s more, if left unchecked, the assumptions and values embedded in these technologies and the decisions they enable can become baked into the infrastructures that drive subsequent knowledge practices.

This session aims to kickstart a conversation about ethical data practice and ways to ‘make the invisible visible’ by remaining alert to who (and what) is missing, under-represented or mis-represented in data in any given context.

We will hear from two speakers:

Theresa Dirndorfer Anderson – Social Informaticist & Data/AI Ethicist, Connecting Stones Consulting

Dorotea Baljevic Data Scientist & Ethical Technology Leader, Lendlease


Speaker Bios

Theresa Dirndorfer Anderson

Theresa uses creative, compassionate and contemplative practices to help communities build better digital and data futures. Building consensus through gaining and maintaining a community’s trust and implementing good practice to advance socially-just data policies is embedded in her work. For more than 20 years, her award-winning work as an educator and researcher has engaged with the ever-evolving relationship between people and emerging technologies when working with data and making decisions. A social informaticist with a PhD in Information Science, she served as inaugural Director and Associate Professor of the Master of Data Science & Innovation program at UTS from 2014-2018, leading development of a uniquely transdisciplinary and human-centred curriculum that continues to prepare graduates for the demands of the data science fields.

Now working as a freelance consultant within her own company (Connecting Stones Consulting) Theresa contributes to government, industry and NGO efforts advancing socially-just data policies, building processes for gaining and maintaining a community’s trust in data/AI use. She is Vice Chair of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) NSW Branch Executive Committee and sits on NSW Government’s inaugural Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee. Theresa also contributes to international initiatives related to data sharing, serving as Project Editor for JTC 1/SC 32/WG 6,  an expert on the Resilient and Healthy Cities Working Group for the International Science Council’s Committee on Data (CODATA) and as a Research Fellow for the University of Illinois Information School. She also sits on the Advisory Board for Resilience Brokers, an international organisation using systems thinking to unlock value and to improve the climate resilience of cities and communities around the world. Prior to her academic career, Theresa worked as a political research analyst in research centres and think tanks and served as a diplomat.


Dorotea Baljevic 

Dorotea Baljevic has been in the IT industry for over 10 years working in systems that support retail banking and financial services. She began her career as a system engineer and has held roles in delivering business outcomes and change by leading large technology and data teams. Currently she is building the international Data Science Practice at Lendlease.

Dorotea has degrees in Information Technology, Master of Business in Technology Management and a Master of Data Science and Innovation.  As part of her Data Science degree, she spent a year abroad studying Computational Neuroscience at Humboldt Universität  in Berlin. During this time an avid interest in the organic processes of Decision Making was formed. She is exploring this further in her role at Lendlease and her PhD at the University of Technology, Sydney with a focus on ethical decision making.

Dorotea embraces organic technologies using a humanistic approach – nature informing technical design and ultimately man working with machine. Data should support and inform the narrative in all we do. Dorotea wants to ensure this story is trusted, relevant and enables the right outcomes.

She also mentors many young (human) men and women in the technology industry.




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