Directions with Stan Grant

Power and ethics: Dr Amen Ra Mashariki on balancing knowledge with utility

May 12, 2021

Where is the line when it comes to wielding the power of data-driven insight and when should it be crossed?

Each time you use your mobile phone, you leave a trail behind. Each app you’ve tapped on, every browser you’ve opened, each link you’ve clicked on, leaves a digital footprint. 

That data can be used in so many useful ways – whether it’s planning for hospital beds so there’s no shortage, to urban planning for a world impacted by climate change, or in times of emergency to keep people safe. 

But the storage of your data also raises important questions about privacy. In the era of meta-tagging and geo-tracking, how can we apply principles to data that are both robust and ethical?

Dr Amen Ra Mashariki is the Global Director for the Data Lab at the World Resources Institute. He has been the Director of the Mayor's Office of Data Analytics in New York City, where he used data insights to create public policy – and shape response to crises including the September 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Sandy.

Next episode: Dr Kathryn Sullivan, scientist, astronaut and explorer.


Directions is a podcast hosted by award-winning journalist Stan Grant about how leaders use technology and innovation to solve problems and to shape our increasingly complex world. 

This is a BGT Production created in partnership with Esri Australia.

Esri Australia is the nation's leading GIS technology and services provider and part of the BGT group.

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