Responsible Design. A Conceptual Look at Interdependent Design–Use Dynamics

Philosophy and Technology 25 (2):179-198 (2012)
Abstract
This article investigates the conceptual foundations of technological innovation and development projects that aim to bring ethical and social issues into the design stage. Focusing on the ethics and social impact of technological innovation and development has been somewhat of a trend lately, for instance in ELSA research and in such initiatives as the Dutch Responsible Innovation programme. I argue that in order to succeed in doing social responsible and ethical sound design, a proper understanding of the relation between technology and society is required. I propose to move away from an externalist framework, in which technology and society are depicted as being defined independently, towards an interdependent framework, where technology and society are regarded to be mutually defining. This move is necessary in order for such innovation projects not to reinforce outdated concepts about technology, which in the longer run will prove counterproductive to the actual aims of the projects themselves
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