Emergent Ethics Colloquium: Paul Valcke on ethics in macroeconomic and ecology modeling

The Emergent Ethics Colloquium is a seminar co-organized and co-hosted by the Kennedy Institute of Ethics (KIE), the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics (PCCB) and the Environmental Justice Program (EJP).

This Wednesday, February 22nd 2023, post-doctoral researcher and EJP member Paul Valcke will give a presentation entitled “Construction and Role of Models for Macroeconomic Ecology in the 21st century: Ethics, Blindspots and Biases”. The seminar will be held from 12pm to 1pm (EST), on Zoom, at this link. Here is the full abstract:

“Quantitative, mathematical models are now ubiquitous in our daily life and decisions. From the algorithm behind Chat-GPT to the choice of socio-economic mitigation pathways, models are valuable tools to reduce the complexity of reality to an understandable, playful interface. Those mathematical constructions can be a way to think, share with a common explicit language, and construct interdisciplinary visions on more elaborated problems. They can also provide non-experts the illusion of rigor, impartiality, and exhaustivity to the point that they substitute more complex, empirical social sciences. Their technicality has progressively shifted them from being common to black boxes, full of blindspots that are sometimes not even known by the modelers themselves.

How can we bring back models to common scientific knowledge and open the discipline to non-modeler? What typical blind spots exist in their structure? How can the decision-maker be more informed of the limitations and put them more in dialogue with empirical and qualitative science? In this non-technical presentation, we will go through simple examples of models and mathematical formulations to shed light on those mathematical blackboxes and discuss the way forward for model integration with other approaches.”