Ethical Considerations in Online Consumer Product Experimentation

Friday, May 6, 2016 - 9:50 am to 10:20 am
Websites "are sometimes used as social science laboratories - often without telling their subjects", according to a New York Times article posted on July 28, 2014.  Online experimentation (A/B testing) is a common practice for many of today's internet products and services.  By conducting online experiments with existing or potential customers, companies can identify improvements to their online service that are backed by statistical evidence.  While this is beneficial for consumers from the perspective of accessing high-quality, ever-improving services, it also raises some ethical questions:  Are consumers adequately aware of their participation in online experiments?  How should other principles that have been formalized for human subjects research - such as beneficence and justice - apply to the online product world, where most experiments are trivial by comparison?  This talk will explore how ethical considerations may (or may not) pertain to a variety of online product experiments.

Ethical Considerations in Online Consumer Product Experimentation | DataEDGE 2016

Vice-President of Science and Algorithms

Caitlin Smallwood is vice president of science and algorithms at Netflix, where she and her team drive predictive models, algorithms, and experimentation science for all parts of the Netflix business. With a background in Internet products (Netflix, Yahoo, Intuit) and mathematical consulting (PwC, SRA), Smallwood specializes in analytics, recommendation systems, controlled experiments, product management, business intelligence, and data strategy. She holds an MS in operations research from Stanford University and a BS in mathematics from the College of William and Mary.