The impact of the Internet on democracy is a widely discussed subject. Many writers view the Internet, potentially at least, as a boon to democracy and democratic practices. According to one popular theme, both e-mail and web pages give ordinary people powers of communication that have hitherto been the preserve of the relatively wealthy (Graham 1999, p. 79). So the Internet can be expected to close the influence gap between wealthy citizens and ordinary citizens, a weakness of many procedural democracies.
Information technology is widely used to fulfill societal goals such as safety and security. These application areas put ever changing demands on the functionality of the technology. Designing technological appliances to be reconfigurable, thereby keeping them open to functionalities yet to be determined, will possibly allow the technology to fulfill these changing demands in an efficient way. In this paper we present a first exploration of potential societal and moral issues of reconfigurable sensors developed for application in the safety and (...) security domain, in the context of a large scale R&D-project in the Netherlands. We discuss the subtle distinction between the relevant notions of reconfigurability, function creep, and unrestricted or unforeseen technological affordances. We argue that the feature of reconfigurability makes context of use the central issue in the assessment of the societal and moral impact of the technology. It follows that the design of good policies for new application contexts has to be central in a value sensitive design approach to reconfigurable technology. (shrink)
When thinking about ethics, technology is often only mentioned as the source of our problems, not as a potential solution to our moral dilemmas. When thinking about technology, ethics is often only mentioned as a constraint on developments, not as a source and spring of innovation. In this paper, we argue that ethics can be the source of technological development rather than just a constraint and technological progress can create moral progress rather than just moral problems. We show this by (...) an analysis of how technology can contribute to the solution of so-called moral overload or moral dilemmas. Such dilemmas typically create a moral residue that is the basis of a second-order principle that tells us to reshape the world so that we can meet all our moral obligations. We can do so, among other things, through guided technological innovation. (shrink)
This paper presents the first bibliometric mapping analysis of the field of computer and information ethics (C&IE). It provides a map of the relations between 400 key terms in the field. This term map can be used to get an overview of concepts and topics in the field and to identify relations between information and communication technology concepts on the one hand and ethical concepts on the other hand. To produce the term map, a data set of over thousand articles (...) published in leading journals and conference proceedings in the C&IE field was constructed. With the help of various computer algorithms, key terms were identified in the titles and abstracts of the articles and co-occurrence frequencies of these key terms were calculated. Based on the co-occurrence frequencies, the term map was constructed. This was done using a computer program called VOSviewer. The term map provides a visual representation of the C&IE field and, more specifically, of the organization of the field around three main concepts, namely privacy, ethics, and the Internet. (shrink)
Although applications are being developed and have reached the market, nanopharmacy to date is generally still conceived as an emerging technology. Its concept is ill-defined. Nanopharmacy can also be construed as a converging technology, which combines features of multiple technologies, ranging from nanotechnology to medicine and ICT. It is still debated whether its features give rise to new ethical issues or that issues associated with nanopharma are merely an extension of existing issues in the underlying fields. We argue here that, (...) regardless of the alleged newness of the ethical issues involved, developments occasioned by technological advances affect the roles played by stakeholders in the field of nanopharmacy to such an extent that this calls for a different approach to responsible innovation in this field. Specific features associated with nanopharmacy itself and features introduced to the associated converging technologies- bring about a shift in the roles of stakeholders that call for a different approach to responsibility. We suggest that Value Sensitive Design is a suitable framework to involve stakeholders in addressing moral issues responsibly at an early stage of development of new nanopharmaceuticals. (shrink)
Ethical issues of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are important because they can have significant effects on human liberty, happiness, and people’s ability to lead a good life. They are also of functional interest because they can determine whether technologies are used and whether their positive potential can unfold. For these reasons, policy makers are interested in finding out what these issues are and how they can be addressed. The best way of creating ICT policy that is sensitive to ethical (...) issues pertain to being proactive in addressing such issues at an early stage of the technology life cycle. The present paper uses this position as a starting point and discusses how knowledge of ethical aspects of emerging ICTs can be gained. It develops a methodology that goes beyond established futures methodologies to cater for the difficult nature of ethical issues. The authors outline how the description of emerging ICTs can be used for an ethical analysis. (shrink)
Ethical issues of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are important because they can have significant effects on human liberty, happiness, their ability to lead a good life. They are also of functional interest because they can determine whether technologies are used and whether their positive potential can unfold. For these reasons policy makers are interested in finding out what these issues are and how they can be addressed. The best way of creating ICT policy that is sensitive to ethical issues (...) would be to be proactive and address such issues at early stages of the technology life cycle. The present paper uses this position as a starting point and discusses how knowledge of ethical aspects of emerging ICTs can be gained. It develops a methodology that goes beyond established futures methodologies to cater for the difficult nature of ethical issues. The paper goes on to outline some of the preliminary findings of a European research project that has applied this method. (shrink)
In this paper, we consider the meaning, roles, and uses of trust in the economic and public domain, focusing on the task of designing systems for trust in information technology. We analyze this task by means of a survey of what trust means in the economic and public domain, using the model proposed by Lewicki and Bunker, and using the emerging paradigm of value-sensitive design. We explore the difficulties developers face when designing information technology for trust and show how our (...) analysis in conjunction with existing engineering design methods provides means to address these difficulties. Our main case concerns a concrete problem in the economic domain, namely the transfer of control from customs agencies to companies. Control of individual items is increasingly untenable and is replaced by control on the level of companies aimed at determining whether companies can be trusted to be in control of their business and to be in compliance with applicable regulations. This transfer sets the task for companies to establish this trust by means of information technology systems. We argue that this trust can be achieved by taking into account philosophical analyses of trust and by including both parties in the trust relationship as clients for whom the information technology systems are to be designed. (shrink)
We argue that nano-technology in the form of invisible tags, sensors, and Radio Frequency Identity Chips (RFIDs) will give rise to privacy issues that are in two ways different from the traditional privacy issues of the last decades. One, they will not exclusively revolve around the idea of centralization of surveillance and concentration of power, as the metaphor of the Panopticon suggests, but will be about constant observation at decentralized levels. Two, privacy concerns may not exclusively be about constraining information (...) flows but also about designing of materials and nano-artifacts such as chips and tags. We begin by presenting a framework for structuring the current debates on privacy, and then present our arguments. (shrink)
It is argued that Pettit’s conception of “contestatory democracy” is superior to deliberative, direct and epistemic democracy. The strong and weak points of these conceptions are discussed drawing upon the work of a.o Bruce Bimber. It is further argued that ‘contestation’ and ‘information’ are highly relevant notions in thinking about, just, viable and sustainable design for E-democracy.