Ethics of quantification: big data and governing through numbers

Editors: Dr Siddharth Sareen (University of Bergen, Norway, and University of Sussex, UK), Professor Andrea Saltelli (University of Bergen, Norway, and Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain) and Professor Kjetil Rommetveit (University of Bergen, Norway)

The intermeshing of algorithms and big data increasingly blurs distinctions between different forms of quantification. Quantification has recently come under intense scrutiny for perceived misuse of existing methodologies. Algorithms pose the risk of non-transparent, oft-proprietary tools used in decision-making and for policy support. Much quantification carries the conundrum that, without representing context and purpose of production, numbers can obfuscate as much as illuminate. The time is ripe for an ethics of quantification, the basis of this article collection.

This collection examines issues flagged by these path-breaking forays in the following areas: (1) artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, and (2) governing subjects through numbers. 

All papers submitted to Collections are subject to the journal’s standard editorial criteria and policies. This includes the journal’s policy on competing interests.