IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2020 - 23

"predict and modify human behav-
ior as a means to produce revenue
and market control" [25].
With stronger and more wide-
spread governance, digital platforms
could become powerful levers to
help steer society towards a climatesafe and equitable world. Consider,
for example, the ways digital plat-
forms influence human behaviors
and social norms. Platforms today
inscribe norms and values in their
choice architecture [21] and have
demonstrated their ability to rapidly
shift social norms at scale through
simple changes in their interfaces
and selection options. For example,
when Google engineers added walk-
ing, biking, and public transportation
to the map application's travel-time
calculation options, they digitally
nudged user behaviors and helped to
shift social norms. When Facebook
added an "other" option to gender
identification, it influenced social
norms by disrupting the conventional
limit of only binary options [21].

cise targeting of services. Precise
will depend on many factors, includ-
targeting methods are more valu-
ing: what data is available, who owns
able and cost-efficient than tradi-
and controls access to the data,
tional, more generic approaches
how information and knowledge are
[16], [29]. Precision agriculture, pre-
derived from the data, and whether
cision disaster risk ma nagement,
communities have access to the
precision medicine, and precision
technology needed to use the data.
in--
surance are all exam-
ples of leveraging big data,
IoT, mach i ne le a r n i ng ,
natural and social science
research, and knowledge coMassive opportunities exist for
production to provide ser-
vices narrowly targeted to
leveraging the capabilities of
solving unique problems
in their specific context.
the digital age to steer society
For example, precision med-
towards net-zero carbon
icine refers to the tailoring
of medical treatment to the
emissions and a more equitable
individual characteristics
of each patient. It recogniz-
global society.
es that people respond to
medical ailments and treat-
Research Questions
ments in different ways based on
■■ How can we embed democrat-
the unique characteristics of each
ically-determined public values
individual. Precision medicine
(e.g., keeping temperature rise
uses massive datasets of genomic,
well below two degrees) into digi-
genetic, and health records in com-
tal platforms? How do we deter-
bination with machine learning to
mine the public values that should
target treatments that match the
be incorporated into the design of
needs of individual patients [30].
the "platform society" and who is
Precision services are already
responsible for doing so?
emerging as valuable for managing
climate risks. Climate-related risks
■■ How can we effectively manage
have typically been difficult for gov-
and regulate an economy domi-
ernments, investors, and business-
nated by digital platforms to
es to plan for and manage [31], [32].
achieve inclusive and positive
However, advances in climate and
sustainability outcomes? Who is
data science make it possible to cus-
responsible and accountable for
tomize climate risk information for
the outcomes resulting from the
specific locations and activities. Big
"platform society," such as the
data and AI are increasingly being
circulation of misinformation
used to improve climate projections
and the implications of choice
(e.g., oneconcern.com), map vul-
architecture?
■■ Will a massive increase in pub-
nerabilities, and build resilience
lic visibility of the social and
[16], [33]. These new, lower-cost pre-
cision services offer novel opportu-
environmental externalities of
nities to vulnerable communities
supply chains lead to transfor-
where climate services were pre-
mative shifts in business prac-
viously unavailable [34]. However,
tices and consumption norms?
whether these services ultimately
Can big data, data analytics,
empower vulnerable communities
and machine learning provide

Transparent Supply Chains
Vast amounts of new data - from
satellites and other remote sensors
- are increasing the transparency of
the environmental and social costs
of supply chains and enabling new
opportunities to internalize these
costs, which are typically unac-
counted for in economic activities.
Interest in supply chain transpar-
ency for sustainability management
has grown and supply chain trans-
parency initiatives have proliferated
[26], [27]. However, the sustainability
and equity outcomes of these pro-
grams are not well assessed, raising
the question of how best to design
and implement them to be positive
catalysts for potentially transforma-
tive change [28].

Precision Services
Enhanced transparency and intelli-
gent systems are enabling the pre-
JUNE 2020

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IEEE TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY MAGAZINE

23


http://www.oneconcern.com

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2020

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