News and Events

Data science as social science: an interdisciplinary discussion on Cambridge Analytica

Time: May 24, 14-16.00
Location: DZ1 (Dante Building)

Data science as social scientific research is becoming a central concern of universities, ours included. But what does it mean to engage with a data scientific perspective? Data science can be seen as interdisciplinary social science, drawing on society for inputs and feeding its findings back into society. Cognitive science, economics, law, philosophy, cultural studies, sociology and many other disciplines deal with concerns that are central to data scientific research, but truly interdisciplinary discussion of data science’s implications and meaning is rare. What would an academic environment look like where data scientists, social scientists and humanities scholars together engage in debating what we mean when we talk about ‘creating value’, conducting ‘responsible research’ and when we use terms such as trust, impact and social good?

On May 24 TILT will host an interdisciplinary discussion on the recent events involving Cambridge Analytica. It will incorporate perspectives from across a range of disciplines, including those currently peripheral to data scientific research but for whom the topic raises issues of central importance. Our starting points:


  • What new questions are raised by the Cambridge Analytica affair for philosophers, historians, cultural studies researchers, legal specialists and political scientists?
  • What new questions do the social and political repercussions bring up for data scientists themselves?
  • What are the potential benefits of a cross-disciplinary approach to a case such as this?

The format of the event will be a series of short statements by scholars from across the university setting out different perspectives on the Cambridge Anlalytica, followed by a general Q&A and discussion. We invite scholars from any discipline to come and consider what a radically interdisciplinary approach to ‘understanding society’ would consist of, and whether we should lead the way, as a university, in pioneering such a conversation.

For any questions, please contact Linnet Taylor (l.e.m.taylor@tilburguniversity.edu) at TILT.

When: 24 May 2018 14:00

End date: 24 May 2018 16:00

Where: Dante building