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Parliamentary questions
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7 January 2015
Question for written answer E-000098-15
to the Commission
Rule 130
Nicola Caputo (S&D)

 Subject:  Computational sociology
 Answer in writing 

During the Juncker Commission hearings, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, said this: ‘We have to find solutions which will allow our research institutes and universities to deal with text and data mining’ (TDM).

It is well-known that data mining (mathematical analysis of big data) and text mining (analysis of texts and documents in natural language), by extracting hidden information, make it possible to use information which is not immediately accessible and allow inconceivably rapid progress to be made in the field of scientific research.

These activities are used in marketing (they identify significant patterns) and in social data mining (data in online social networks) and they form the basis of computational sociology (complex social processes), heuristic algorithms and artificial intelligence with machine learning.

The technology is widely used in government, national security and intelligence applications and also in research, commerce and medicine.

However, these techniques give rise to significant ethical issues (Google has launched DeepMind for the development of AI; Facebook has developed DeepFace (facial recognition in 97% of cases, just like a human being)).

In this context, can the Commission indicate how it plans to encourage:
1. Scientific research into TDM?
2. Contractual agreements between research institutes and authors of scientific journals?
3. Dialogue around the associated ethical issues?
Original language of question: IT 
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