The committee proposed a Data Science Oath in its interim report and offers a revised version in this final report in Box D.2 (in parallel with a modern version of the Hippocratic Oath for physicians in Box D.1). Given the sensitive nature of certain types of data and the significant ethical implications of working with such data, similar efforts to establish a code of ethics for data scientists are under way throughout the field.1 While these various codes at times intersect in their expressions of the ethical principles for data science, the committee hopes that its oath captures the gravity of data-driven decision making and provokes discussions on the future normative structure of data science.
While there are many common aspects to the Hippocratic Oath and the proposed Data Science Oath, there are also some key differences. Both oaths, however, share aspects of being necessary but not sufficient to address current and future ethical considerations.
The potential consequences of the ethical implications of data science cannot be overstated. Previously, data were small and specialized,
1 To read about other work in the development of data science codes of ethics, see, for example, https://datapractices.org/community-principles-on-ethical-data-sharing/, http://datafordemocracy.org/projects/ethics.html, http://www.datascienceassn.org/code-of-conduct.html, http://www.rosebt.com/blog/open-for-comment-proposed-data-science-code-of-professional-conduct, https://dssg.uchicago.edu/2015/09/18/an-ethical-checklist-for-data-science/, http://thedataist.com/a-proposal-for-data-science-ethics/, https://www.accenture.com/t20160629T012639Z__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/PDF-24/Accenture-Universal-PrinciplesData-Ethics.pdf, accessed January 31, 2018.
but now data are pervasive. The fact that all humans are in this together (e.g., generating data and economic activity) means that they all have a responsibility to each other.
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