Ethics & Social Science

Speaker 1:  Professor Luciano Floridi – Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford – Website]

Speaker 2: Professor Helen Margetts – Director, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford  – Website]

Dates: March 30, 2016
Time: 13:30 – 17:00
Agenda: Click Here to Download Agenda and Map
Livesteam Guide: Click Here to Download a Livestream Guide

Speaker Host: Institute Director, Professor Andrew Blake FREng FRS





Speaker 1: Professor Luciano Floridi (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford)

Ethics in the Age of Information

With the help of some metaphors, in this talk I shall outline the nature and scope of Information Ethics, the new philosophical area of research that investigates the ethical impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on human life and society. In the course of the presentation, I shall introduce some of the topics I have analysed in The Ethics of Information, (OUP 2013), a book in which I have sought to provide the conceptual foundations of Information Ethics, and some work in progress I am currently developing for The Politics of Information (OUP, forthcoming).

Luciano Floridi is Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford, where he is the Director of Research of the Oxford Internet Institute. His most recent books, all published by Oxford University Press, are: The Fourth Revolution – How the infosphere is reshaping human reality (2014), The Ethics of Information (2013), The Philosophy of Information (2011). Among his current positions, he is member of Google Advisory Board on “the right to be forgotten” and Chairman of the Ethics Advisory Board of the European Medical Information Framework (EMIF).


Speaker 2: Professor Helen Margetts, Director, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

The Data Science of Politics

Political science has traditionally lacked data. The empirical study of politics was born out of history, based largely on thick descriptions of political institutions and systems of government. In the post-war era, the science in political science developed from investigations into political behaviour where opinion surveys provided the quantitative meat, aside from actual voting data which was difficult to link to other data sources. Since then, the internet and social media have wrought dramatic change to political systems, bringing new forms of mobilization which increase instability and unpredictability in both democratic and authoritarian regimes – and also generate new sources of large-scale data. This lecture discusses how data science might help us to understand, explain and even predict this new ‘political turbulence’, by making use of data generated by politics co-ordinated, communicated and organized through social media. Drawing on research carried out for the new book Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action (Margetts, John, Hale and Yasseri, 2015, Princeton University Press), the lecture discusses how data science could be used to tackle enduring questions of political science and maximise the utility of political participation and civic engagement for democratic policy-making.

Helen Margetts is Professor of Society and the Internet and Director of the Oxford Internet Institute of the University of Oxford. She is a political scientist specialising in digital era governance and politics, investigating political behaviour, digital government and government-citizen interactions in the age of the internet, social media and big data. She has published over a hundred books, articles and major research reports in this area, including Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action (with Peter John, Scott Hale and Taha Yasseri, 2015); Paradoxes of Modernization (with Perri 6 and Christopher Hood, 2010); Digital Era Governance (with Patrick Dunleavy, 2006); and The Tools of Government in the Digital Age (with Christopher Hood, 2007). In 2003 she and Patrick Dunleavy won the ‘Political Scientists Making a Difference’ award from the UK Political Studies Association, in part for a series of policy reports on Government on the Internet for the UK National Audit Office (1999, 2002, 2007, 2009), and she continues working to maximise the policy impact of her research. She sits on the Digital Advisory Board of the UK Government Digital Service and the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government. She is editor-in-chief of the journal Policy and Internet. She is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.