Privacy, Reputation, and Identity in a Digital Age Teach-Out


Monday, January 29, 2018 - 1:30 p.m.

This event featured a discussion of the ways in which data and algorithms shape and create our digital reputations, often completely without our insight. The event speakers emphasized that reputation has long been prized. In its traditional form, people who know something about you use this knowledge to form opinions. Their collective sense of who you are—your reputation—affects how people treat you: it shapes all of your social interactions. In today's world, additional knowledge about you resides in "big data" collected by individuals, organizations, companies, and governments. Increasingly, data about you are being processed by algorithms to draw conclusions: to form something like opinions. This combination of data and algorithms creates a new digital reputation which increasingly shapes your life, from recommending purchases and suggesting friends to prompting actions based solely on your digital footprint.

The speakers sought to consider questions of privacy, reputation, and identity using a case study event. Audience members were encouraged to consider who gathers, owns, and controls our data? Where do they get it, and how? How do they use it? Is it shared with people, processed by algorithms, used to construct your choices? What should we think about all of this? Attendees heard from experts and engaged in conversation using real-world scenarios across multiple topic areas.


Sol Bermann

Tim McKay