Inaugural Data Ethics Meetup – 28 November 2019

Our Inaugural Data Ethics PH Meetup last 28 November 2019 was a smashing success with nearly 200 people attending, socializing, and discussing the emerging ethical issues with data in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The meetup was held at the Canva offices at Coherco Building in Makati City, with free-flowing coffee, pizzas, and barbecue. Volunteers from FTW Foundation, Analytics Association of the Philippines, and CirroLytix Research Services pitched in to ensure a successful event. The audience was a mix of data scientists, analysts, aspiring students, and business leaders all united with an interest in data ethics and social impact.


CirroLytix CTO Dominic Ligot opened the session with a retelling of the Great Manure Crisis of 1894, which marked the turn of the 1st and 2nd Industrial Revolutions as a analog of what is occurring today. He also shared the mantras of Data Ethics PH: “Data Rights Are Human Rights” and “Social Problems Are Data Problems”.


FTW Foundation and Adaptive AI Founder Carlo Almendral followed up with a discussion on the difference between Ethics and Compliance: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” And also reminded the audience to bring the discussion back to humans because data is created by humans.


NCPACS Fellow Nick Tobia concluded the evening by discussing the political nature of data: Data + Ethics = Politics, and to remember that “Data can’t speak for itself – it needs people to speak for it – which is always a political decision.”

The common theme through all the talks: there is an inordinate focus on Data Privacy and Security, but the challenges span everything from Digital Ownership, AI Liabilities, Data-driven Discrimination, and Data Poverty.

Doc, Carlo, and Nick invited the data audience to get involved by joining the Data Ethics Slack Community and the Open Bangsamoro Data Challenge.

The next meetup is tentatively scheduled on 23 January 2020.