Data Ethics – Keynote at tdwi Confrence Seatle


We are generating data literally wherever we go and whatever we do—and not only about all our digital and mobile actions, like searches, purchases, preferences, and interests. In the Internet of Things, we leave behind a broad trace of all kinds of data that is often far more telling than results of classic social, psychological, or medical research, and we can hardly prevent this data from being accidentally collected, while passing by a WiFi router, for instance. Since a multitude of dimensions are tracked, the resulting profiles are so unique that they can no longer be anonymized. Persisting images of ourselves are created that we cannot control.

However, most people do not want to refuse the comfort and opportunities of our data-driven economy (benefits include online shopping, distributed energy production, and precision medicine, to name a few). Data sharing can create huge economic and social value. For example, compared to the average samples of a few hundred participants, real data could support medical research in an unprecedented way. Thus data sharing should be made attractive, but in order to do so, people must have confidence that their goodwill is not turned against them.

The first level in implementing data ethics is about shaping applications. Privacy by design is already a well-established concept, but it must be extended to data ethics by design, incorporating built-in prevention of potential discrimination, misclassification, and assaultive abuse. The design follows the simple patterns of data courtesy—being kind with people and avoiding presumptions. Such design can also be cast into law. In Europe, health insurance companies are legally prevented from using gender to determine pricing; likewise, it is illegal to include data from social media profiles to calculate credit risks.

Second, and even more important, we must be empowered to make use of our data ourselves. We should own our data and decide about its proliferation and use. Data should be as open as possible and shared as simply as possible. Collecting data has to be done in a fair way. Of course, no one can care about their data explicitly all the time. Thus, we need algorithmic agents to deal with this task on our behalf.

Third, we need to work even harder to maintain a just and liberal democratic system that offers legal remedies to everyone and enforces good conduct. Malign political leadership on digital steroids might be much worse than those in predigital times. At the same time, big data promises nothing less than a smart society with distributed, noncentralized infrastructure that could offer much more freedom to people. Even more than our data-driven economy, we should actively shape our data-driven public.

Token Summit: The Tokenization of Finance

The inaugural Token Summit Conference takes place on May 25th 2017 at NYU Stern Business School, New York, NY:

We present how blockchain leads from transaction and payment to the full scale of financial services, including loans and financing for businesses. Since the majority of the people world wide are unbanked, i.e. have no bank account or other streightforward access to financial services, the market for a blockchain solution providing banking for everyone is huge.

After having developed and deployed a digital asset management and accounting system for the United Nations World Food Programme, currently in use in refugee camps in Jordan, we continue working to bring token based financial services to the unbanked.

CFA Lecture: Blockchain: Revolutionäre Technologie oder Hype – Erfahrungsbericht eines Experten (München)

Datum: Donnerstag, 6. April 2017

Blockchain ist eine neue Technologie, die mit der digitalen Währung Bitcoin in 2008 zum Vorschein kam. Seitdem sind viele weitere Anwendungen entdeckt worden. Die Blockchain, als ‘distributed ledger’ kann sämtliche Vorgänge und Abläufe in einer Transaktion dokumentieren. Use Cases gibt es in der Versicherung, Immobilienwirtschaft für Banken, aber auch in vielen anderen Industrien der öffentlichen Verwaltung oder auch im intellektuell Property Management. Jörg Blumtritt hilft den Hype von dem was wirklich revolutionär ist zu trennen und gibt reale Beispiele aus seiner Berufspraxis.

Link: “CFA Lecutre: Blockchain”

Joerg Blumtritt

(*1970) is data scientist and blogger. He co-founded the companies Datarella based in Munich, Germany, and Baltic Data Science in Gdansk, Poland. Datarella develops data-driven products and applications based on the the blockchain, BDS delivers data-science-as-a-service.

Before that, Joerg had worked for media companies and publishers in Europe and the US. After graduating in statistics and political sciences with a thesis on artificial intelligence, he had worked in behavioral sciences, focused on nonverbal communications research.
As political activist and researcher, Joerg works on projects regarding future democratic participation, open source IoT, and data ethics.

Joerg is adjunct professor at NYU and teaches courses on data science and the blockchain at various universities. He co-authored of the Slow Media Manifesto and blogs about media at, about data and the the blockchain at and

View Jörg Blumtritt's profile on LinkedIn

[Auf Deutsch]

Biopunk – Subervting Biopolitics. Session at SXSW 2017

DNA is called the code of life but computational metaphors underestimate the impact of biopolitics, which reaches far beyond anything digital. Biases of today’s culture are embedded in the wetware of tomorrow’s genome editing and profiling. As the biotechnical gaze makes us increasingly visible we become categorized, branded by the norm, sifted into racialized and gendered identities.

Biopunk is our way to subvert biopolitics, to take our bio-determined future into our own hands. Speakers will discuss bio-art and activism while revealing our own genetic secrets, and also that of some random strangers. Join this session in genome-panic and bio-culture from paranoia to poetry, to make biopolitics our own.

Joerg Blumtritt, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Simone Browne

Link to the event:

Blockchain is the new Internet – Lecture at NYU Tisch

“Blockchain is the new Internet” – something bigger is going on here, than just another form of digital payment like Bitcoin. The blockchain enthusiasts promise applications from smart contracts, to autonomous organizations, to anarchistic systems of government. How can this new technology live up to its promises, and can it deliver something beyond the Silicon Valley type libertarianism of disruption?

ITP, NYU Tisch, March 3

Link: “Blockchain is the new Internet”