Professor Irene Ng is a Professor of Marketing and Service Systems at WMG, University of Warwick. She is also the Director of HATLAB at University of Warwick (50%) and the Chief Executive of HAT Data Exchange (50%). Her research is in economic engineering and service systems. She designs and engineer data platforms, transactions, economic and business models and specialise in the understanding of value and markets for the data and digital economy. Her PhD was from the National University of Singapore and her work is in pricing, value, economic models and service systems. Her interest is in economic engineering and the design of markets in the digital economy, combining economics, business, behaviours and technology in the space of data and AI.
Work in market design through 'microeconomic engineering' (Roth, 1991, 2008) have shown that transactions and institutions matter and could be redesigned to engender better market outcomes. Such engineering can be applied to personal data as an asset, so that it can be better used by organisations, governments and individuals from healthcare to finance without being encumbered by privacy, distrust and fear. Since digital personal data consist of bitstrings, and is created by the technology that collects it, it is possible that rights to the data could be retained by individuals if they legally owned the technological artefact that acquired such data. Such a technological artefact is the HAT (https://www.hubofallthings.com/).
The personal data within HATs (termed as person- controlled personal data - PPD) are a different asset class from the personal data sitting within organisations (termed as OPD). PPD is data where intellectual property rights and excludability of the data (control) is with individuals, even if the original source is from a corporation. This is important because property rights is said to be the most important factor for markets to exist, as markets not only enable the exchange of a good, but trade the various exclusive rights associated with the good in terms of its use, exclusion and alienability. The HAT allow individuals themselves to be a 'data controller' and 'data processor'. Through the individual's control of containerised microservices, individuals can give rights to the personal data within their database for their own benefit, deriving income from it or transferring it through a 'data debit' for services, using standard APIs.
As the HAT platform scales, there is an opportunity to obtain an empirical understanding of personal data exchanges and how the market evolves, especially for data signals. HAT Data Exchange, as the technology provider of HATs and through which all HAT metadata APIs are lodged, is willing to provide access to the data exchange as they are interested to establish a 'bloomberg-style' dashboard of data exchanges (much like stock exchange trades) within the HAT ecosystem. This would enable an understanding of the value of PPD to HAT owners, organisations, government and indeed, society, to the level of data granularity that has never been possible. It also enables the study of 'matching' - economic models focusing on who does what and who gets what, particularly when there is scarcity and allocation is an issue (Niederle, Roth and So?nmez, 2007). Within the 2 years of the Turing Fellowship, Professor Irene Ng aims to (1) create a taxonomic catalogue of PPD value based on the data transactions between HAT owners and apps to contribute to the understanding of its use (2) Study the longitudinal evolution of the PPD market in terms of how the HAT platform achieves 'matching' - creating thickness, reducing congestion and making the market safe (cf. Niederle er al., 2007). The output of this research would be published and made a resource for future understanding of the economic, personal and societal value of personal data and its market.
Achievements and awards
Advisory Board member, Lloyds Register CTF International Fellow, Service Research Centre, Karlstad, Sweden Advisory Board member, NHH Centre for Service Innovation Senior Member, Wolfson College Cambridge ESRC/InnovateUK Caucus Thought Leader (2016-17) ESRC/NIHR Public Sector Placement Fellow (Apr - Sep 2010) ESRC/AIM Service Fellow (Oct 2008 - Sep 2010) ESRC/AIM Lead Service Fellow (Oct 2008 - Dec 2009)