These are certainly all relevant questions which have come further into our consciousness and political discourse, given the somewhat turbulent and divided global political climate.
Data manipulation and research
What does this mean for researchers in academic institutions at all levels, particularly those who are interested in utilizing technology to further their outcomes? Data is often ‘manipulated’ (in the truest sense), to make it more usable with technology solutions that help researchers delve deeper into their sources.
Researchers understand the impetus of being ethical in all research, but when it comes to technology that is designed to make decisions on your behalf using algorithms and artificial intelligence, you could be forgiven for feeling like you’re taking a leap of faith into unknown territory.
The key to remaining on the right side of ethical standards, and being able to utilize technology as it becomes available to you, is transparency and control.
For example, the automation of transcription has long been on the wish list of many qualitative and mixed methods researchers, who have either spent many long hours of their own time, or struggled to find research assistants to transcribe interview data on their behalf. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing technology have now made this a reality, and human powered transcription is no longer a researcher’s only option.