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Ethics & Technology

Ethical and political controversies often concern new and emerging technologies.Their novelty revolutionizes, yet they also influence society on a moral, ethical, and political level. Both proponents and opponents of new technologies can be preoccupied with the extremes of possible impacts, and the debate can be hampered or stifled as a result. How then, can we assure that contemporary and emerging technologies are beneficial, responsible, and sustainable?

How can we understand the ethical, social and political role of contemporary technology, including its design and development, and assess its impact on society?

This ethical and moral debate is grounded in the design and development of new technologies - long before their introduction into society. Through the research strand Ethics & Technology, we seek to teach and advise both engineers and policy makers regarding the possible and plausible impact of new technologies, as well as the general public, and to investigate the societal impact of such technologies through objective and scientific methods.

This research strand currently focuses on four primary facets:

  • The relationship between technology and values
    How do technological artifacts and processes embody and express values and norms? How can they be ethically assessed because of their values and norms, and how can the embedding of values and norms be made part of the design process?
  • The role of technology in human well-being and flourishing
    We analyze the positive and negative implications of technological artifacts/processes for the well-being of users and other stakeholders, and investigate how these artifacts/processes may be designed to positively affect the stakeholder’s well-being.
  • The conditions for the realisation of responsible research and innovation
    Through the development of practical methods involving different kinds of stakeholders, we seek to make research and innovation more responsible and ethical.
  • The ethical and social implications of emerging technologies 
    We aim to identify and evaluate the ethical issues - including related policy and regulatory issues - of technologies/artifacts/applications in biomedicine, ICT, robotics, etc., and the development of approaches for ethical analysis of emerging technologies.

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