Big Tech expansionism into new spheres
Just by going through our daily lives, we generate lots of data about our health and habits with our phones. The collection of this data has allowed Big Tech companies to emerge as new players in health research. Prof. Tamar Sharon discusses what’s at stake in this development.
Chances are high that you’re carrying a device in your pocket that counts your steps. Maybe you’re also tracking your exercise pattern on your phone, or you’re logging data about your menstrual cycle or the number of calories you consume each day. Imagine the amount of data that all this individual tracking adds up to. This data about bodies, habits and health that we’re collectively generating is a potential goldmine for biomedicine and health research.
But who owns and has access to this data? How is it used exactly, and who benefits from it? In recent years, Big Tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook have become important players in the field of health research. Besides concern about the quality of the research that results from this, this development also raises many ethical questions. Prof. dr. Tamar Sharon discusses the issues at stake when Big Tech companies start expanding their influence to different sectors of society.
Prof. dr. Tamar Sharon is Professor of Philosophy, Digitalization and Society, Chair of the Department of Ethics and Political Philosophy and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Hub for Digitalization and Society (iHub) at Radboud University, Nijmegen. Her research explores how the increasing digitalization of society destabilizes public values and norms, and how best to protect them.
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