On October 21, the Isenberg School of Management hosted a panel focused on how companies use individual data, and highlighting steps some of them are taking to ensure that they’re not misusing the inf
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On October 21, the Isenberg School of Management hosted a panel focused on how companies use individual data, and highlighting steps some of them are taking to ensure that they’re not misusing the information they collect. The panel was hosted in collaboration with the campus-wide Public Interest Technology Initiative, or PIT@UMass, which seeks to develop educational, research, and outreach offerings that empower students and the broader community with the resources that will help them promote social responsibility in technology. The panel was organized by Isenberg's Operations and Information Management Department.

Moderated by Monideepa Tarafdar, Isenberg’s Charles J. Dockendorff Endowed Professor, the panel featured guests Dr. Lindsey Zuloaga, Chief Data Scientist at Hirevue, Harvey Ashman, Senior VP and Deputy General Counsel for IQVIA, and Chris Flack, co-founder of Unplug.

Zuloaga kicked off the panel discussing how technology is changing the recruiting and hiring landscape and exploring the ethical implications of those changes. Throughout her talk, she discussed how her company, Hirevue, uses AI, pre-hire assessments, and more to streamline the hiring process. On top of that, the company focuses on making sure candidates are being evaluated in a consistent and structured way, while minimizing bias along the hiring process. This includes features like a video assessment, where the employer receives the answers in text instead of speech so applicants don’t get judged on the way they look or speak. Hirevue also uses a Machine Learning Algorithm, which is a mathematical function learned from past data that calculates what behaviors are exhibited by high performing candidates; candidates receive an overall score at the end. Zuloaga also discussed the ethical questions that these methods raise. Their goal is to not replicate human bias, and sometimes there are proxies that can know a candidate’s age, race, or gender, that can affect this or her overall score. To mitigate bias in algorithms, Hirevue tweaked its algorithm so it doesn’t use proxy features to identify men and women. Dr.Lindsey Zuloaga ended her talk with some best practices that are applied at Hirevue, like candidates being offered transparency and explanations when they’re not hired, accommodations and options to opt out of a certain program, and using third party audits and feedback like an expert advisory board and influencer roundtables.

Harvey Ashman followed, and discussed how IQVIA uses technology and data to improve healthcare. “Improvements in technology and data are enabling rapid advances in the treatment of disease, improving patient outcomes, lowering healthcare costs, increasing access to care and supporting evidence-based treatment decisions and policy decisions” said Ashman, while also discussing how technology and data must be used responsibly. IQVIA practices relating to tech and data are the use of non-identified patient data for research purposes, physical safeguards like policies and procedures to protect electronic information systems, and working closely with leading researchers, policy makers, thought leaders, and others in various disciplines like privacy, security, statistics, legal, and governance compliance, among others.

The last panelist of the day, Chris Flack, discussed topics like digital habits, empathy and social media, and the iPhone effect. Flack introduced the audience to passive and active use on social media, and discussed the individual psychology and personal responsibility we have around our digital habits. Flack interacted with the crowd, asking about their social media habits, if they think they’re able to multitask, and even performed a multitasking test with the audience! He ended the panel with a powerful quote: “You have the choice, the awareness of multitasking, empathy and social media, and the iPhone effect. You can choose whether you shape the world or the world shapes you.”