Inspiration

The world is changing rapidly, and we face many choices about how to navigate modern life. Decisions of democratic governance and individual consumption could be better informed by ethical assessment, but many people lack the time and awareness to comb through the web for ethics data. If people could quickly obtain info about the ethical ramifications of their decisions, they might make more ethical decisions.

What it does

Given the name of an entity (like a business), the function checks various sites for a page matching the entity name. For some sites, it prints summary information like impact scores. For Wikipedia, it can print a bit of the "Controversies" section, if such a section exists.

Challenges

Beautiful Soup has some technical limitations in terms of scraping JavaScript, so not all site data I was aware of was accessible.

What I learned

I learned some basic techniques in web scraping, which is something I've never done before.

What's next

There's definitely more ethics info out there on the web, so expanding the scope of the project seems doable. It'd also be interesting to try to speed up the search. It's slow right now because each search involves accessing dozens of pages. Aggregating impact data more systematically could help with speed and would also allow for a broader analysis of available data. Creating profile pages for each entity could allow for easier access to and expansion of the data.

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