We, the Data: Human Rights in the Digital Age
Human rights are one of the major innovations of the 20th century. Their emergence after World War II and global uptake promised a new world of universalized humanity in which human dignity would be protected, and individuals would have agency and flourish. The proliferation of digital data (i.e. datafication) and its intertwining with our lives, coupled with the growth of AI, signals a fundamental shift in the human experience. Data are “sticky.” Human rights remain our best hope for ensuring essential human values that have come to be accepted internationally, but we have to account for how sticky data affect our conceptions of values like autonomy, dignity, equality, and community. This talk will explore some of the ways data stickiness affects our lives, and make a case for the urgency of a human right to data literacy.
Wendy H. Wong is Professor of Political Science and Principal’s Research Chair at the University of British Columbia. She is interested in exploring questions of governance, the role of technology in society, and the work of NGOs. In addition to We, the Data (MIT, 2023) she has written two award-winning books, both published with Cornell University Press: Internal Affairs (2012) and The Authority Trap (2017, with Sarah S. Stroup).
The event is part of the Seminar Series “Platform Politics and Policy”.
Researchers from outside the WZB who would like to attend may email the organizer, robert.gorwa [at] wzb.eu, to be put onto the seminar series mailing list.