Big Data and Ethical Challenges

Michael Kelly, SJ

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The poor in the 21st century, as well as the cash poor, are the ignorant, the naive and the exploited in a data-dominated world. With the controversy engulfing Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and their use of personal data displaying how deep and widespread the invasion of privacy for commercial gain really is, the Church is called to reflect and act, showing a preference and support for this new class of poor.

She needs to inject thousands of years of ethical thinking into a policy discussion which now takes place mainly in a bubble of very computer literate “technorati.” The Church needs to proclaim loudly its spiritual and human-centric view of progress in these debates to supplement the dominant message of technological utopianism.

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