Strategic Opportunities (and Challenges) of Algorithmic Decision-Making: A Call for Action on the Long-Term Societal Effects of 'Datification'
Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Forthcoming
35 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2015
Date Written: March 30, 2015
Today, digital data are captured through a variety of devices that have the ability to monitor the minutiae of an individual’s everyday life. These data are often processed by algorithms, which support (or drive) decisions (termed ‘algorithmic decision-making’ in this article). While the strategic value of these data (and subsequent analysis) for businesses is unquestionable, the implications for individuals and wider society are less clear. Therefore, in this Viewpoint article we aim to shed light on the tension between businesses – that increasingly profile customers and personalize products and services – and individuals, who, as McAffee and Brynjolfsson (2012; 5) suggest, are ‘walking data generators’ but are often unaware of how the data they produce are being used, and by whom and with what consequences. Issues associated with privacy, control and dependence arise, suggesting that social and ethical concerns related to the way business is strategically exploiting digitized technologies that increasingly support our everyday activities should be brought to the fore and thoughtfully discussed. In this article we aim to lay a foundation for this discussion in the IS community and beyond.
Keywords: algorithmic decision-making, digital traces, sensors, strategic issue, social and ethical issues
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