Ethical Design in Pervasive Media


Published on

Deciding what ethical principles should govern the practice of pervasive media design, it is first necessary to understand a) how ethical systems operate; b) what kind of ethical governance is appropriate to design and c) what are the distinct ethical parameters of pervasive media. This essay attends to each of these dimensions with a view to developing an ethical theory of pervasive media design.

Published in: Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Ethical Design in Pervasive Media

  1. 1. Professor Andy Miah, University of the West of Scotland Fellow, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), Liverpool Fellow, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, USA Pervasive media studio, UWE, bristol, 2010.03.05
  2. 2. <ul><li>Deciding what ethical principles should govern the practice of pervasive media design, it is first necessary to understand: </li></ul><ul><li>how ethical systems operate </li></ul><ul><li>what kind of ethical governance is appropriate to design </li></ul><ul><li>what are the distinct ethical parameters of pervasive media. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>How do ethical systems operate? </li></ul><ul><li>Codes of ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Spheres of moral concern </li></ul><ul><li>Are there moral concerns about pervasive media design? </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Are there moral concerns about design in pervasive media? </li></ul><ul><li>Direct (physical, psychological) </li></ul><ul><li>Indirect (social, affecting normative expectations) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>DIRECT HARMS of Design in Pervasive Media </li></ul><ul><li>Physical (how the device may give rise to injury) </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological (how the device may lead to behavioural tendencies that may be considered detrimental to well-being) </li></ul><ul><li>Can designers be held accountable? </li></ul><ul><li>Eg. repetitive strain injury; addictive tendencies </li></ul><ul><li>Could future designs incorporate more risky functions? </li></ul><ul><li>Eg. swiss army knife with built in gps and phone, or stun device? </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Product Liability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Defective design : The product is inherently dangerous as a result of poor or inadequate design. Whilst some designs are clearly inadequate others can produce complex and difficult legal argument. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defective manufacture: This is usually as a result of a quality control failure when a product or batch does not conform to the usual specification. Manufacturers are often strictly liable for product liability as a result of defective manufacture and a consumer may, in certain circumstances, find it unnecessary to prove that they were negligent. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defective warnings: Are the warnings accurate and up to date and does the product information accurately reflect any dangers or risks associated with the product, or have they been contradicted by statements in advertising or made by sales representatives? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negligent after sales surveillance : Companies must respond adequately when inherent defects come to light subsequent to sale of the product to warn consumers about the product's lack of safety. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. INDIRECT HARMS of Design in Pervasive Media Prescribing range of moral alternatives to end user Eg. not being able to reuse mobile phone chargers Harm arising from movement of information Eg. development of an application that leads to the sale of data to third parties, concerns about surveillance, data-mining, etc.
  8. 8. <ul><li>What kind of ethical code should govern designers? </li></ul><ul><li>More like commercial producers or artists? </li></ul><ul><li>Where does design take place in the development of pervasive media? </li></ul><ul><li>There is no neatly defined ‘designer’ population. </li></ul><ul><li>Can regulation learn from other industries, perhaps media? </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps an open source ethics is needed </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Case Study: eBay </li></ul><ul><li>five basic values&quot; of eBay's community: </li></ul><ul><li>We believe people are basically good </li></ul><ul><li>We believe everyone has something to contribute. </li></ul><ul><li>We believe that an honest, open environment can bring out the best in people. </li></ul><ul><li>We recognize and respect everyone as a unique individual. </li></ul><ul><li>We encourage you to treat others the way that you want to be treated. (&quot;Community values,&quot; 1999). </li></ul>
  10. 10. How ethical is pervasive media already? Eg. Is Twitter behaving? Modest scandals include fake hashtags and fake retweets Larger concerns about hijacking trending tags for unrelated gain eg. HabitatUK in 2009
  11. 12. Could the designers of Twitter have avoided this? Could they do something now? Is the community sufficiently self regulating?
  12. 13. Are there distinct ethical parameters of media becoming pervasive? James Auger & Jimmy Loizeau, Telephone tooth implant Is pervasive health surveillance likely to overwhelm our personal lives? How will we be compelled towards the normalization of cybermedical surveillance? Eg. health credits
  13. 14. <ul><li>Conclusion: Some Principles </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency of contract and forced engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Promotion of ethical culture within user community </li></ul><ul><li>Child restrictions should promote cultural learning </li></ul><ul><li>Promotion of end user responsibility for conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Opt in rather than opt out protocols eg. web tracking </li></ul><ul><li>Respect for privacy of identity (it’s not dying!) </li></ul>