Jeannette M. Wing
Avanessians Director of the Data Sciences Institute
Data for Good
I use the tagline “Data for Good” to state paronomastically how we as a community should be promoting data science, especially in training future generations of data scientists.
First, we should use data science for the good of humanity and society. Data science should be used to better people’s lives. Data science should be used to improve relationships among people, organizations, and institutions. Data science, in collaboration with other disciplines, should be used to help tackle societal grand challenges such as climate change, education, energy, environment, healthcare, inequality, and social justice.
Second, we should use data in a good manner. The acronym FATES suggests what “good” means. Fairness means that the models we build are used to make unbiased decisions or predictions. Accountability means to determine and assign responsibility—to someone or to something—for a judgment made by a machine. Transparency means being open and clear to the end user about how an outcome, e.g., a classification, a decision, or a prediction, is made. Ethics for data science means paying attention to both the ethical and privacy-preserving collection and use of data as well as the ethical decisions that the automated systems we build will make. Safety and security (yes, two words for one “S”) means ensuring that the systems we build are safe (do no harm) and secure (guard against malicious behavior).
Jeannette M. Wing is Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. From 2013 to 2017, she was a Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Research. She is Consulting Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon where she twice served as the Head of the Computer Science Department and had been on the faculty since 1985. From 2007-2010 she was the Assistant Director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation. She received her S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Professor Wing’s general research interests are in the areas of trustworthy computing, specification and verification, concurrent and distributed systems, programming languages, and software engineering. Her current interests are in the foundations of security and privacy, with a new focus on trustworthy AI. She was or is on the editorial board of twelve journals, including the Journal of the ACM and Communications of the ACM.
She is currently a member of: the National Library of Medicine Blue Ribbon Panel, the Science, Engineering, and Technology Advisory Committee for the American Academy for Arts and Sciences; the Board of Trustees for the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics; the Advisory Board for the Association for Women in Mathematics; and the Alibaba DAMO Technical Advisory Board. She has been a member of many other academic, government, and industry advisory boards. She received the CRA Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and the ACM Distinguished Service Award in 2014. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).