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Universities are exploring the world of data mining––sifting through data gathered from a student’s academic performance, her online social habits, and even her comings and goings on campus––in order to provide what is perceived to be useful information to students. Posted on The New York Times website, this article explores the phenomenon and some of its ethical dimensions.

All kinds of data seems ripe for the picking. At some universities, a student’s academic performance is monitored in order to determine what major he or she should pursue (called “advising by algorithm” in the article, as depicted in the graphic above). At other universities, a student’s Facebook use is tracked in order to recommend friends, while other institutions monitor card swipes at campus buildings to track social and personal habits. Here’s what we need to consider:

1. How do you feel about being assigned an e-advisor?

2. Does a university have any business suggesting friends to you?

3. Critics claim that data mining undermines the exploratory, serendipitous nature of college life. Do you agree?

Sources: The New York Times,


Chrysler aired the TV commercial above, featuring Eminem, during the 2011 Super Bowl. It went on to win numerous awards. The online spot below was done by Audi in May 2011. When it comes to art and to advertising, creative people are always being influenced by other creative people.

But when does influencing stop and plagiarizing begin? Eminem’s Detroit-based publisher, Eight Mile Style, filed a cease-and-desist order in Germany in an effort to stop Audi from using the rapper’s Oscar-winning song “Lose Yourself” in the spot. “Apparently someone believes that the definition of copyright laws is the right to copy others’ materials, including world-renowned successes created by Chrysler Group brands,” Chrysler Group spokesman Gualberto Ranieri said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

What do you think?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter