What I do: Data policy
Data policy is all about getting the best results out of the data available. Data is essential for decision-making, strategy, service development, resource allocation, and research. How that data is collected, used, made available, and re-used, is at the heart of data policy.
As of June 2020, I’ve been working as a special advisor for the city of Helsinki, Finland, in the area of data policy. In this capacity, I was seconded to the World Economic Forum‘s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) as a data policy fellow. At C4IR, I led a project entitled Empowered Data Societies.
Since my secondment, I’ve focused on developing internal data policy and especially the operationalisation of data and AI ethics in the city organisation as well as being actively involved in the development of Finnish and EU policy and regulation.
What I work towards: Human-centric data
Human-centric approaches to data, such as MyData, seek to combine the real and potential benefits of data use with strong privacy and data protection considerations. Human-centric data promises ethically sound and efficient ways of making good use of especially personal data for the benefit of individuals, groups, businesses, and societies as a whole.
Since January 2022, I’ve served as the chair of the board of directors for MyData Global. I’ve been involved with MyData since 2016 and was a member of the core team that founded MyData Global as a nonprofit association in 2018. I’ve previously held the positions of deputy general manager, head of programmes, and senior advisor at MyData Global.
I’m a co-author and the editor of the third, revised edition of the white paper MyData – an introduction to human-centric use of personal data as well as a co-editor of the white paper Understanding MyData Operators, both published in 2020.
What I research: Ethics
I’ve been interested in ethics since from a young age and this interest was one of the reasons I opted to study classics at Cambridge University as my first degree. The study of the very first Western ethicists has since inspired and informed my work, academic and professional, in the fields of data and technology.
My special interest is, as befits a classicist, virtue ethics and its application to contemporary debates and developments in data and AI ethics, especially virtue ethical notions of morally sustainable trust relationships that draw also on theories of social ontology.
I’m currently engaged in PhD research at the University of Helsinki faculty of social sciences in the field of practical philosophy. My current research focuses on applied ethical study of the digital in general and personal data in particular. I’m also a visiting researcher at Aalto University school of science, department of computer science and a member of the DCC research group.
I’ve been awarded top grades for both my undergraduate and graduate thesis research and I’ve subsequently presented conference papers and published collaborative, multidisciplinary research.
How I operate: Leadership
In my role of chair of the board at MyData Global, I lead a board of nine directors from all around the world and act as the line manager for association’s the general manager. I also support the wider leadership team that includes, in addition to the board, the steering committee and the staff.
My work with the World Economic Forum involved leading the work of a diverse community of international experts in the co-creation of the data policy output of the project.
My role as deputy general manager of MyData Global involved close collaboration with the general manager in various aspects of leadership of the association such as the development of the organisation’s stategy, working with the board of directors and the steering committee, and HR responsibilities.
When I served as the project manager for the MyData 2018 conference, I led a multinational, distributed team of seven in the organisation of the conference that welcomed over 800 participants, including over 200 presenters, and dozens of volunteers.
How I support: Organisational development
As part of the core team leading the process to found MyData Global as a registered nonprofit organisation, and in the roles I’ve held since, I’ve been intimately involved with both the details and the big picture of what goes into a well-functioning organisation.
I was involved in the community-driven co-development of the organisation’s business model, membership policies, and bylaws and other governance mechanisms.
I was also involved in the definition and monitoring of strategy for both the short and the long term, recruitments and staff-building and development, building and refinement of administrative and business processes, evaluation and adoption of tools and internal and community procedures.
How I pay it forward: Teaching
I’m an experienced guest lecturer at bachelor’s and master’s level university courses and seminars for students of various disciplines, including MBA students.
I’ve also participated as a teaching assistant in a number of seminars for master’s students. My involvement has included contributions to all aspects of course design, promotion, guest lecturer arrangements, evaluation criteria setting, student work sparring, and feedback and grading.
I’ve also conducted a number of professional training sessions and participated in the design and execution of whole training programmes for professionals.
How I got started: Ancient philosophy
My specialisation in both my undergraduate and graduate degrees was ancient philosophy and, specifically, early Greek philosophy (often also referred to as Presocratic philosophy). My undergraduate thesis studied Anaxagoras and proposed a new ethical reading of his fragments. My supervisor for this work at Cambridge University was prof. David Sedley and I was awarded a grade of First Class.
My graduate thesis at the University of Helsinki focused on the very first of the early Greek philosophers: Thales, Anaximenes, and Anaximander. My study focused on their use of the word and concept of kosmos in its many senses. I was awarded the grade 5 (out of 5) for the thesis.
What inspired me on my way: Digital humanities
I collaborate with a digital humanities research group COMHIS at the University of Helsinki. With them, I’ve published a conference report and a conference poster. I bring my classics expertise to support the cross-disciplinary work of data scientists and historians to gain new insights to our past and, possibly, also our future. I’ve also been involved in the university of Helsinki digital humanities research seminar and given there a talk.
How I communicate: Languages
Verbal communication is my forte and I’m equally comfortable with written and spoken language. I’m a confident and experienced public speaker and a seasoned writer and editor.
My first language is Finnish and a close second is English. (You might hear the fact that I studied in England in my accent!) I also have full proficiency in Latin and ancient Greek, both of which I learned from scratch at university as part of my classics degree. I can understand and have a simple conversation in Swedish, order a beer in Dutch and German, read some Italian and modern Greek, and tell you I speak a little French in French.
What relaxes me: Hobbies
I’m an avid sports fan and I’ll get excited for just about any live sporting event. Especially close to my heart are English football (and Chelsea FC), World Championships ice hockey, international rugby, and Grand Slam tennis. I’ve even been known to enjoy a T20 cricket match on occasion!
I’m also especially fond of words in all shapes, sizes, and forms. This includes reading novels and non-fiction, solving cryptic crossword puzzles, practising calligraphy, and varied writing and translation projects.
Finally, I’m a geek for data, spreadsheets, and databases; science fiction in books, television, and film; automations, macros, and scripts; and shiny new gadgets and software.