Where academic tradition
meets the exciting future

TUCS Distinguished Lecture

Friday, April 25, 2014 at 13.15

ICT Building, Auditorium Lambda
Coffee served from 12:45

Click here for the video on Youtube.

Heikki Topi, Bentley University, USA: "Moving Toward a Research Agenda for the Social, Economic, and Workforce Implications of Big Data Analytics and Decision Making"

Host: Ion Petre, Åbo Akademi University

Abstract: Enthusiasm regarding the applications of big data appears to continue to grow stronger in all sectors of the society. Much of this excitement is undoubtedly warranted: the technologies enabling effective integration of large volumes of a rich variety of types of data generated at a high level of velocity have, indeed, enabled scientific breakthroughs, allowed companies to serve their customers better or at least target them more accurately, and made the use of large public data sets possible for a much broader set of actors. While threats to privacy have received a lot of attention recently, the high level of enthusiasm has not, in general, left a lot of space for an in-depth reflection of the broad social, economic, and workforce implications of big data analytics and decision-making.

In January 2014, a multidisciplinary group of academic, government, and corporate thought leaders came together at a U.S. National Science Foundation –funded workshop led by Prof. M. Lynne Markus to reflect on a research agenda that would advance both academic scholarship and public discourse on these implications, both positive and negative. In this talk, I will provide the participants with an integrative summary of the results and agenda-setting recommendations of the workshop and the preparation process leading to it, with the hope that this will illustrate the directions in which the scholarly community in the U.S. would like to move to address these important issues. Some of the key themes that emerged from the conversation included privacy and concerns of surveillance society, importance of value-driven ethical analysis, impact on equality, changing needs for workforce development, implications on the nature of work, the conflicting interests regarding the transparency of data and algorithms, and the concerns related to the quality of big data.

Biography: Dr. Heikki Topi is Professor of Computer Information Systems at Bentley University in Waltham, MA. He earned his Ph.D. in Management Information Systems at Indiana University Graduate School of Business. His teaching interests cover a range of core IS topics including advanced systems analysis and design, systems modeling, data management, and IT infrastructure. His research focuses on human factors and usability in the context of enterprise systems, information search and data management, and the effects of time availability on human-computer interaction. His research has been published in journals such as European Journal of Information Systems, JASIST, Information Processing & Management, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Journal of Database Management, Small Group Research, Communications of AIS and others. He is co-author of a leading data management textbook Modern Database Management and a related text Essentials of Database Management with Jeffrey A. Hoffer and V. Ramesh. His co-edited Volume 2 Information Systems and Technology of CRC/Chapman & Hall’s Computing Handbook Set will be published in April 2014. He has contributed to national computing curriculum development and evaluation efforts in various leadership roles (including IS 2002, CC2005 Overview Report, and as a task force co-chair of IS 2010, the latest IS curriculum revision) since early 2000s. He has been a member of ACM’s Education Board since Spring 2006 and has represented first AIS and then ACM on CSAB’s Board since 2005.

The TUCS Distinguished Lecture Series is a forum for public lectures by outstanding national and international researchers in all aspects of computing, coming both from academia and industry. All lectures are free and open to the public.