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  • Webinar on 'Ethics of quantification'

Webinar on 'Ethics of quantification'

Andrea Saltelli, Wendy Espeland, & Andy Stirling

Fri 5 Feb 2021 | 14:00 - 16:45 (CET)
Andrea Saltelli, Wendy Espeland, & Andy Stirling

Download the slides from Andrea Saltelli

Download the slides from Wendy Espeland

Download the slides from Andy Stirling

Download the recording of this Seminar


Numbers are at the core of the nexus between technoscience, society and the new media. The potential of numbers to inflict harm is on par or superior to those of any other technologies, when we consider both visible and invisible numbers, e.g. the use of artificial intelligence and big data algorithms. And yet, numbers are so deeply entrenched in our existence that we barely reflect on them critically any more.

Following the publication of the Nature commentary last June on ‘Five ways to ensure that models serve society’, which was focused on modelling, we propose a broader discussion on the ethics and politics of quantification. How can we develop frameworks for observation, critique and improvement of the social uses of quantification?

Chair: Ismael Rafols (CWTS, Leiden Univ.)

14:00 Presentations

Andrea Saltelli (Open Evidence, Open Univ. Catalonia (UOC)):
Do we need an ethics of quantification?

Wendy Espeland (Dept. Sociology, Northwestern Univ.):
Why numbers that make up people and mediate their interests require an ethics

Andy Stirling (SPRU, Univ. Sussex):
From ethics of quantities to politics of qualities: mitigating power-driven closures

15:30 Break

15:45 Discussion

Comments to presentations followed by open discussion.


Sarah De Rijcke, CWTS, Leiden Univ

Wolfgang Drechsler (Nurkse Dept. Innov. & Gov., Tallin Tech, & IPP, UCL)
Niels Mejlgaard, Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy, Aarhus Univ
Gaby Umbach (Global Stat, European Univ. Institute)

16:45 Closing

This webinar is organized by CWTS Hub on Engagement and Responsibility in R&I.




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