Ethical issues of emerging ICT applications


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Ethical issues of emerging ICT applications

  1. 1. EIEx THE MAGAZINE OF THE EUROPEAN INNOVATION EXCHANGE www.eiex.euISSUE 6 ETICA Ethical issues of emerging ICT applications
  2. 2. Mapping the moralfuture of ICTs A look at today’s newspapers will probably reveal there has been someCONTENTS headline to do with the use and misuse of information and communica- tion technology. Data may have been lost by a government, an officialIntroduction…………………….4 may have used a police database to spy on a potential girlfriend, a com- pany may have sold data of underage users, or a file sharing provider may haveVTT……………………..……….6 been sued by an intellectual property holder. These are all ethical issues that are caused by or at least related to ICT. As ICTs spread further into the fabric of per- sonal and social lives, as new technologies and applications get distributed in moreTUD……………………………….8 and more activities, we can expect this type of ethical concern to increase. It is easy to guess that new types of data collected for many different purposes will createKIT….………………….………10 bigger concerns with regards to privacy and data protection. IP issues will contin- ue to gain relevance in societies that are increasingly information driven.FUNDP………………...………12 While ethical issues of ICT will remain with us for the foreseeable future, our cur- rent ways of addressing these are problematic. In most cases we wait until a sig-Recommendations…………15 nificant problem arises. Following public outcry, and political and media attempts to pin the blame, western societies start to consider how another instance of the same problem might be avoided. This is a standard way that societies deal with problems.Dissemination………..………17 However, rather than wait until the problem is there and the solution has to be fit- ted to the existing technologies and social structures, would it not be better to thinkThe Future for ETICA.…….…19 about them early and prevent problems? The ETICA project started with the assumption that such an approach was bothEEMA…………………………...20 desirable and possible. It set out to identify emerging technologies that can be expected to be socially relevant in the next 10 to 15 years. These technologies were then investigated and it was asked whether one can make reasonable andThe Advisory Board ………...21 transparent predictions about the ethical issues they may raise when they come into wide-spread use. On this basis, ETICA evaluated the different technologiesTRN……………………………..21 and their likely consequences from the perspectives of law, gender, institutional ethics and technology assessment.EUREX………………………….22 A final question picked up by ETICA concerns current and possible governance arrangements. The idea behind this is that simple knowledge about the future is notANA……………………………..22 sufficient to ensure that appropriate actions are taken. Even if we could exactly pre- dict which ethical issues a novel technology will raise, it is by no means clear whatContacts………………………. 23 should be done about it. The project therefore looked at current governance arrangements that are used to identify and address ethical issues. It critically ques- tioned the assumptions behind those arrangements with a view to coming to rec- ommendations that will allow taking account of ethics early. Editor: Ranjeet Johal This magazine recounts the main activities of the ETICA project. It explains the Production Editor: Nat Green logic of the different activities and work packages and how they fit together to Published by The European Innovation answer our questions. It details methodologies, approaches and their justification. Exchange, Jubilee Lodge, Ridlington, Rutland It also lists the main recommendations of the project and explains how they can © European Innovation Exchange 2011 contribute to the overall project. The magazine is aimed at all those individuals and ISSN 2041-9910 organisations that have an interest in the ethics of ICT. It will hopefully contribute to The opinions and views expressed in this a better understanding of the issues involved and thereby lead to a more thought- publication are not necessarily those of the publisher ful and reflexive use of such technologies. In the end, ethical sensitivity contributes to better products, more satisfied customers as well as a better society in which cit- izens’ needs are taken seriously. I ETICA I 3
  3. 3. Future-proofing Thetechnology ethics world. This definition meant that the activities of identify- The contributions of the ETICA project to current dis- consortium ing technologies did not have to spend much effort on courses around emerging ICTs need to be understood is aware of looking at particular aspects of present types, unless and interpreted in this context. The consortium is aware these indicated that there were larger changes behind of the fact that it may be wrong in any of the predictions the fact that them and driving them, which had the potential to fulfill it makes. The technologies it describes may not become our definition. socially relevant, the ethical issues may not materialise it may be or take different forms, governance recommendations wrong in Uncertainty may not lead to the desired results and it may well be A final important point needs to be discussed, before the that the most important technologies and ethical issues any of the individual activities undertaken in the project are have been overlooked. described in more detail in the following sections. This is predictions the question which aims and claims are associated with Foresight it makes the project. To put it differently: if the future remains fun- This is a normal state of affairs for a foresight projectThe ETICA project is a bold attempt to visualise possible futures for emerging ICT damentally unknown and all the prediction a research such as ETICA. The claims to truth that the project rais- project such as ETICA can make are fundamentally es are not strong or comparable with those arising fromto help decision-makers operate in an ethical framework when developing them uncertain, then what is the point of the exercise? Would we not be better off investing the resources used here traditional scientific research. Instead, the point of the project is to give input into societal, research-oriented into the development of technology, rather than in spec- and policy discourses about how technologies can affect ulation about what this development might bring about? our future. The inputs to such discourses provided by The answer is that such research, despite its uncertain- ETICA claim to be well-grounded and reasonable to dis- ty and lack of ‘scientific’ exactness fulfills an important cuss. On this basis European societies can decide function in democratic societies. where they want to go, how they want to live togetherTHE ETICA project faced numerous challenges in frame. It chose to concentrate on technologies that are and how to regulate the use of technologies.achieving its aims of identifying emerging ICTs, find- likely to emerge in the next 10 to 15 years. The reasoning out which ethical issues these were likely to for this choice is that it corresponds withraise, evaluating these issues and developing rec- the technology development lifeommendations concerning suitable governance cycle. Technologiesarrangements to address these. In order to allow the that are widelyconsortium to address them, the project was divided availableinto three main stages: identification, evaluation, andand governance. During the identification stage, the project had to makea number of conceptual choices in order to be able toprogress towards its aims. An initial one of these waswhat was meant by the term ‘emerging ICT’. One prob-lem of this definition was the concept of emergence.Typically used in systems theory and related fields,emergence normally denotes the property of an entity toarise from complex interactions of parts of the system. In order to have such a socially useful discourse, theEmergence is therefore something that is difficult, if not affect findings and recommendations of the project need to beimpossible, to predict. In attempting to predict emerging human lives well-grounded. This magazine will explain in the comingICTs, the ETICA project therefore faced the problem of on a greater scale in this sections how the consortium undertook its work andtrying to achieve the impossible. time frame are those technologies that what the results were. In addition to these important This is a problem that all research related to the future are currently in early stages of research and methodological foundations of the project, it is alsofaces. The future is not known and attempting to predict development. By looking at current research activities, important to communicate to the right stakeholders andit is fraught with difficulties. However, one can at the one can therefore gain a reasonable understanding of engage with them with regards to their needs andsame time observe that prediction of the future is a rela- likely technical futures. requirements. This magazine will therefore outline thetively standard activity and modern societies in many This definition indicates a second major conceptual different dissemination activities of the project and howrespects depend on such predictions. States have to issue faced by the project, namely the definition of ‘infor- Policy makers, industry and the population as a whole researchers, industry and policy makers were involved inwork on predictions of future population numbers and tax mation and communication technology’. What do we needs to grapple with issues related to future technolo- the project. This magazine is part of these dissemination What do werevenues. Companies predict future turn-over and mar- count as technology and which types of technology gies. As the editorial of this magazine pointed out, there efforts and should be seen as the description of thekets. Individually we plan our lives in the face of uncer- should be investigated? Neither the term itself nor its cur- are increasing numbers of ethical issues related to ICT grounding of ETICA’s contribution. The consortium wel- count astainty. The ETICA project is located in this ambiguous rent usage provides much help in arriving at a suitable that make it into the everyday headlines. Further spread comes any feedback it receives on the basis of this mag-area of knowledge and lack of knowledge. definition. of such technologies will lead to further issues. Societies azine and hopes that its contribution will make a differ- technology It quickly became clear, however, that ETICA, in order need to think about how current problems should be ence in Europe and beyond. IPredictions and which to be able to identify relevant ethical issues, would have addressed and how future issues can be taken intoOne important observation related to future-oriented to look at the big picture. Bits, bytes, devices and items account before they become significant. This requires a The research leading to these results has types ofwork is that the certainty of predictions decreases with rarely have the power to affect human lives in a way that shared understanding of what the future may hold. This received funding from the Europeanthe temporal horizon of the prediction. We can safely is ethically relevant. Ethical relevance comes from sub- shared understanding may turn out to be misleading and Community’s Seventh Framework Programme technologyassume that tomorrow most things will be very similar to stantial changes to human capabilities, freedoms, choic- the resulting actions may not be able to comprehensive- (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement should bethe way they are today. At the same time we have no cer- es, etc. The ETICA consortium therefore decided to use ly address all issues. Such limited knowledge is never- n° 230318.tainty about how things will be in 1000 years. In order to a definition of technology as high-level socio-technical theless still preferable over a passive position that simply investigated?be able to make useful predictions that are not entirely systems that incorporate a view of humans and have the waits until events happen and then tries to deal with thetrivial, ETICA therefore had to choose a suitable time potential to change the way humans interact with the consequences. www.etica-project.eu4 I ETICA ETICA I 5
  4. 4. VTT – identifyingthe next big thing Technology is not neutral – it can either help or hinder usPart of the Finnish innovation system controlled by the Ministry ofEmployment and the Economy, VTT produces research, development,testing and information services for both the public and private sectorTHE central question that ETICA had to answer in The description of each technology consists of:order to successfully complete, the identification I Technology Namestage, was how to come to an understanding of the I History and Definitions (from discourse analysis and other sources)future that is relevant to policy makers. This question I Defining Features (‘essence’ of technology, how it changes our interactioncan be further divided into two separate sub-ques- with the world) Nanotions: how can we know about emerging technolo- I Application Areas/Examplesgies; and how we can identify the ethical issues that I Relation to other Technologies We are aware that these technologies may overlap with smaller and smaller and it is presumable that in the future technologythese technologies will raise? I Critical Issues (ethical, social, legal and related issues) each other and the level of these technologies may vary so called invisible computers are reality. Of course if and Due to the multiplicity of emerging technologies and in many ways. For example, one issue is if most of these when our technologically augmented environment comes will make I Referencestheir uncertain nature, the ETICA consortium had to technologies could be subordinated to Ambient Intelli- little bit more invisible and more complex there will be hardwaredecide on an approach that was academically sound and gies were defined: technologies, application examples, gence, or if Bioelectronics and Neuroelectronics are pret- issues of user control and comprehension of this kind ofsimultaneously feasible within the resource constraints of and artefacts. This distinction, along with the possibility of ty much under the same developmental and application new intelligent environment. smaller andthe project. The principle of the identification of emerging defining relationships between different entities allowed area. Our decision for this selection of emerging ICTs istechnologies and ethical issues agreed is that it will be a more flexibility in the identification process. The aim of the based on studied discourses by governments and Augmentationdistillation of published views on these issues. ETICArelies on a range of available sources to identify which data analysis was to identify the most important emerging ICTs on the basis of relevant sources and to provide a smaller research institutions. Therefore we also use several other methods to ensure that the list of technologies will be rea- Many technologies also envisage human augmentation in one way or another. Augmented reality applications aretechnologies are likely to emerge, and which ethical description of the way in which these technologies are sonable. These consist of a set of focus groups with tech- already available for various platforms, but how and withissues these are likely to raise. expected to make a difference. nology users, a survey of technology development project what speed development will take further steps is still Having settled on the principles of the bottom-up While such an abstract description is required to come leaders, and a technology assessment made by experts. hard to predict. Intelligence (including e.g. context-aware-approach, the next question was what to look for in the to an understanding of emerging technologies, it may be ness, pervasiveness and adaptivity) is one of the maindata. The central question here was how we could make too brief to provide useful pointers to ethics, which is Vision characteristics that underline developmental work ofsense of the broad field of emerging and future ICTs while always contextualised. It was therefore decided to enable The main characteristics of future emerging information future emerging ICTs. Through intelligence there are lotskeeping in mind the resource constraints of the project. richer descriptions of technologies or ‘vignettes’ that and communication technologies that came up from tech- of possibilities to support different kind of technologies,For the purpose of high level policy advice the most would allow ethical analysis of the emerging ICTs. nology descriptions may also vary in their format while applications and services, but there will be also manyimportant item needed is a general understanding of Naturally we also looked at relationships between differ- some technologies (e.g. Ambient Intelligence) have a already identified threats and obstacles in utilising thesewhich technologies are emerging. The focus of analysis ent technologies in order to understand more profoundly clear vision of how it will change the way humans interact applications.therefore needs to be at a relatively high and generalis- the semantics and nature of those technologies. After with the world but on the other hand other technologies Generally there is also strong emphasis at the momentable level. Individual artefacts or applications are only of thorough clustering and categorisation of our data we (e.g. Quantum Computing) visions are not so much on an towards virtualisation of services and communication. It wasinterest in so far as they can improve the understanding have selected the following titles to present the most pre- application level, but more on higher technology level. How for example civil society will accept service virtuali-of general and high level technologies. sumable future emerging ICTs: However it is already at this point possible to highlight sation and digitalisation is under discussion. Tradeoffs decided to some of those main characteristics that bring out the between clear benefits and harsh disadvantages, espe- identifyCore characteristics I Affective computing essence and developmental targets of these technolo- cially for some special groups, have to be made and jus-As it is impossible to envisage all possible applications of I Ambient intelligence gies. tified. All in all new services and applications that are what couldsuch a high level overview of technologies, it was decid- I Artificial intelligence It seems that there is an ongoing strong trend towards enabled by future emerging ICTs will require more com-ed to identify what could be called the ‘core characteris- I Bioelectronics convergence and transdisciplinarity in ICT development. puting power with less energy consumption. One of the be calledtics’ of the technologies in question. Identifying the I Cloud computing ICT is already distributed throughout our everyday lives possible solutions to this dilemma will be provided by the the ‘coreessence or characteristics of the technology, the data I Future internet and it seems that this kind of trend is going to be even development of quantum computing. How prevalent theanalysis needs to give an answer to the question about in I Human/machine symbiosis stronger in the future. Malleability, one of the characteris- quantum computing paradigm will be after the next ten to characteris-what way the technology changes the manner that I Neuroelectronics tics of future ICT, will make it possible to think of all con- 20 years is of course still an open question. Ihumans interact with the world. I Quantum computing ceivable ways to utilise ICT in different application areas tics’ In order to address the problems of what counts as a I Robotics and possibly even applications we can’t even think of yet. Contact:‘high level’ technology, three different types of technolo- I Virtual/Augmented Reality Development of nanotechnology will make hardware6 I ETICA ETICA I 7
  5. 5. Visualising the The oldethical boundaries moral categories and concepts still applyDelft University of Technology is using cutting-edge programs to visualise howthe key concepts studied by ETICA interactTHE research team from Delft University of Tech-nology (TU Delft) has been responsible for identify-ing ethical issues arising from information and com-munication technologies in the coming 10 to 15years. To this end ‘Ethics of emerging technologies’ was front as relevant in most of the Ethical Analyses. This of the other emerging technologies as they enable cer-defined as ‘aiming at the identification and articulation of does not necessarily imply that the ethical implications of tain capabilities needed to realise it, this position is war-ethical issues of technologies that do not exist yet, but the issue are similar for all of these technologies. ranted.are likely to emerge.’ In practice this amounted to Take Autonomy, for instance. Two different accounts of Generally it is safe to say that technologies at the bot-describing what scholars in computer and information autonomy can be found in two analyses. In the discus- tom of the hierarchy have fewer practical applicationsethics say about the identified emerging ICTs from a plu- sion of Neuroelectronics a possible infringement of than the ones positioned higher up. As a result ethicalralist as well as a descriptive stance that allows a num- autonomy is mentioned as systems take over certain issues stemming from these technologies tend to be dis-ber of different voices to be heard. human functions. In the discussion of Artificial Intelli- cussed in terms of technologies positioned higher up in The analysis started off by creating a topical mapping gence autonomy is discussed as a requirement for a the hierarchy. Issues that occur in lower positioned,of the discourse using specialised software called the machine to become a genuine moral agent. These are enabling technologies may thus have a huge impact asVOSviewer. An overview of academic literature contain- different, although related, notions of autonomy. they affect all technologies that are enabled by 1038 references, abstracts and keywords from lead- Besides overlapping issues the research also brought To assess to what extent the findings of the ethicaling ethical sources was constructed as input for the bib- forward ethical issues that were unique to a technology. analyses correspond with views and practices of outsideliometrical analysis. Although VOSviewer still is in an Especially more specific traits of technologies are bound stakeholders, the findings of the literature study are com-experimental phase, for the majority of technologies to give rise to more specific issues. The issue of ‘Robots pared with the outcomes of two empirical studies. Firstanalysed in the ETICA project it distilled an adequate going out of control’ for instance is only addressed in the the opinions of lay people were examined via focusoverview of ethical values and concepts. Ethical Analysis of Robotics. groups, second a survey was sent out to FP7 ICT-proj- Building on the results of the bibliometrical analysis a and Human-Machine Symbioses in particular are dis- Above and right: two of Furthermore research showed that to a large extent the ects to examine the opinion of technology researchers.traditional ethical analysis (EA) was done for each of the cussed in depth in both ethical and subject related aca- the visual maps created old moral categories and concepts (say pre-internet) stilleleven emerging technologies discerned in the ETICA demic articles. by VOSviewer apply to new technologies and are predominantly used. Analysesproject. Each Analysis was delimitated by basing it on A remarkable finding of the research was that the It should be noted however that in order to be made rel- The issues that were brought forward in both empiricalthe defining features of the technology identified previ- amount of speculation underlying ethical issues men- evant and applicable to new technologies some of the studies to a very large extent conform to the issues asously and independently in the Technology Descriptions. tioned in the analysis ranged widely. On one end of the categories and concepts need to be reconstructed and discussed in the Ethical Analyses of the emerging ICTs.Next, relevant references were drawn from the overview spectrum there are issues that seem purely hypothetical. new conceptions of old concepts need to be articulated. On the other hand many issues that were found in theof ethical academic literature constructed in phase 1. In The technology implicated in some issues on Robotics Steps toward this re-conceptualisation were found in Ethical Analyses were not mentioned at all either in thecase the references drawn from the overview of academ- and Affective Computing for instance at the moment are multiple sources that were analysed. focus groups or the survey. It may be concluded thatic literature proved rather small for a specific technology, beyond the immediate reach of R&D and practical imple- (academic) ethicists succeed in addressing the concerns Enabling Speculationfurther literature was consulted from other relevant aca- mentation. that felt among the public, but that the public itself isdemic sources. On the other end of the spectrum a great deal of issues The type of relationships that was found to occur most either (still) not aware of all (potential) issues or does not underlying were discussed in the ethical analysis that already can often between the different technologies is an ‘enabling’ agree on the assessment done by the ethicists.Literature be found relatively frequently in daily life and in public relation. Artificial Intelligence for instance can be viewed In case these issues indeed are relevant to the public it ethicalAs was expected, not all of the analysed emerging tech- debates. For instance, many of the issues identified in as an enabler for Robotics as AI is a necessary require- subsequently may lead to the conclusion that ethicists do issuesnologies were equally well represented in literature. On the analysis of the Future Internet are exacerbated ment in the construction of more advanced robots. By not manage to create awareness amongst the public ofthe one hand for some technologies, most notably instances of issues encountered on the internet as we discovering which technologies are enabling which tech- some of the ethical concerns and issues that indeed are mentioned inQuantum Computing and Bioelectronics, almost no rele- know it today. nologies a sort of hierarchy can be established. At the relevant to them. To ascertain which conclusion is war-vant articles in the extant literature were found. As a As was anticipated in the Technology Descriptions, bottom of this hierarchy more basic or ‘fundamental’ ranted it is recommend further research should be the analysisresult for those technologies almost no articulation of many of the technologies discussed are found to be technologies are found such as Quantum Computing undertaken into the relationship between academic ethi- rangedethical issues was discovered, both in the ethical and closely related to each other. This can partly count as an and Neuroelectronics that enable technologies such as cal discourse and the concerns and issues felt in by theother literature. On the other hand research showed that explanation for the overlap found in issues stemming Artificial Intelligence and Human-Machine Symbiosis. At public I widelycertain technologies received significantly more attention from different technologies. Especially the more generic the top end Ambient Intelligence can be placed. Givenin literature than average: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics issues such as ‘privacy’ and ‘autonomy’ came to the fore- that Ambient Intelligence seems to encompass almost all www.ethicsandtechnology.eu8 I ETICA ETICA I 9
  6. 6. Karlsruhe putspersonal values high likelihood of becoming an ethical issue as far as of women and men in all aspects of ICT production and they concern or might concern human dignity, namely: implementation. Ambient Intelligence, Human-machine symbiosis, neuro- The group also contributed definitions of gender-relat- electronics, and robotics. Other technologies such as ed concepts to ETICA’s theoretical apparatus called Affective Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Bioelectronics Glossary and participated in ETICA’s events and dissem- and Virtual/Augmented Reality can be seen, according ination activities.into the mix to the analysis, as having a high degree of likelihood. Since the ethical analyses carried out in WP2 was based Legal evaluation on an overview on Computer and Information Ethics it The purpose of the evaluation was to explore the legal could also be demonstrated that current academic implications which might be relevant to the ethical research – unlike the Ethics of European Institutions - is aspects of emerging technologies. The evaluation was very much human-centred. There is little to no research performed by researchers of the Eötvös Károly Policy Lack of trust: who is on animals or environmental issues. Here, we would like Institute, Budapest (EKINT): Iván Székely, Beatrix Vissy holding your data? to encourage our colleagues to take some inspiration and Máté D. Szabó. from the Ethics of the European Institutions and to over- The starting points of the analysis were the fundamen- come the bias towards humans. tal values as well as principles distilled from the values forming the cornerstones of Western constitutional Gender Studies democracies, such as human dignity, equality and theKarlsruhe Institute of Technology’s ITAS focused on the envi- Work on gender issues in ETICA was rule of law. For the purposes of the evaluation of theronmental, economic, social, political and institutional issues performed by a team from the Women’s selected emerging technologies, both an empirical and a Studies Center of the University of Lodz speculative approach were employed. in Poland: Prof. Elzbieta H. Oleksy In the course of the empirical study – using the method (WSC’s director, later replaced by dr. of analysis of documents and databases – legal databas- Edyta Just), and the Department of es were used covering the whole corpus of EU law. As aETICA’s work on ‘Evaluation’ combined work from might still have a long way to go before it finds routine Transatlantic and Media Studies of the main finding, it can be established that the legal implica-partners with specialised expertise to examine the use. Too much hype can distract from a promising core same university: ( Dr. W. Oleksy- the tions of emerging technologies are not reflected in thekey technologies identified at previous stages of the of a technology as could be said to be the case for artifi- coordinator of ETICA at Lodz University, EU legal documents and attracted only a minimal legisla-project from the perspectives of technology assess- cial intelligence which has experienced two “winters” due and K. Zapedowska, M.A). tive attention in the competent bodies of the EU.ment, ethical panels, gender and legal studies. The to its failure to meet exaggerated expectations. The team’s task in ETICA (WP3, The speculative findings have been divided into twogoal was to produce a ranking of emerging technolo- Technology assessment makes most sense when we Deliverable 3.2.4) was to assess ethical groups: the first group contains findings from the aspectsgies according to the severity of the issues they are considering practical applications or approach the aspects of selected ICTs from the per- of those applying and using emerging technologies,raise. The separate assessments were discussed at technology from the viewpoint of societal problems, for spective of whether and to what extent while the other presents the findings from the aspects ofan expert workshop and combined into a single which applications of technology might provide a possi- gender issues are represented in the lit- lawmakers. Among the recommendations formulated, itreport with the help of an assessment grid produced ble solution. In such cases, non-technical solutions to the erature on the selected ICTs. A critical was emphasised that new basic principles and criteriaat the beginning of the project. Simply stated, each problem should be considered as an alternative to those review of available literature (over 100 should be worked out in detail for the use of emergingpartner had the task of judging the importance of the involving technology. publications) was performed (method- technologies with special regard to individual choice,key technologies for future activities in their field of Coming back to the key technologies, it seems advis- ologically based in Critical Discourse consent and transparency, and that legal science shouldexpertise. able to treat some together, e.g. all related to close Analysis and evaluative instruments work out adequate regulatory strategies for different sce- Michael Rader of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, human-machine interaction or those in some way involv- worked out for WP 3) to arrive at recom- narios regarding such technologies.Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems ing attempts to equip machines with human-like intelli- mendations that would be of relevance to The evaluation took into consideration the fact that inAnalysis led the work package and, with Alex Antener, gence. If the realisation of a technology is far on the hori- various stakeholders involved in ICT the so-called new European democracies the moralcontributed an analysis from the viewpoint of technology zon, it is not really a candidate for ethical debate, but design, production and distribution as well value order of society is less stable than in traditionalassessment. could be the subject of a more technology oriented tech- as to the general public. democracies, therefore in these countries the legal guar- nology assessment which attempts to identify trajecto- The main findings of the group are the antees of moral postulates are even more important thanTechnology Assessment ries for its realisation, possible applications and time following: in other countries of the EU, when introducing emergingFor each of the 11 key technologies identified by ETICA, horizons. I Some ICTs have received little technologies.a small case study drawing on technology assessment (Neuroelectronics, Quantum Computing) All components of the evaluation exercise confirmedstudies and related work, served to illustrate the likeli- Ethics of European Institutions or minimal attention (Human-Machine the importance of the eleven key technologies which hadhood and urgency of expected controversies concerning The ethical evaluation was carried out by Rafael Capurro Symbiosis, Robotics) in the literature gen- been identified at earlier stages of ETICA. The currentethical aspects and social impacts linked with these tech- and Michael Nagenborg (SHB). In a first step the “Ethics der wise so the ethical impact of their appli- exception, quantum computing, will probably not achievenologies. An important consideration is the time frame for of European Institutions” were reconstructed in order to cations in the future is hard to estimate; maturity during ETICA’s time horizon of approximatelytheir expected diffusion and practical applications. All 11 estimate the likelihood of ethical issues. One of the main I Such ICTs as Affective Computing, ten years. There are also doubts about the true impor-technologies raised sufficient concerns to justify ethical indicators was a potential conflict with the values and Ambient Intelligence, Augmented Reality, tance of “cloud computing”, which is the subject of muchanalysis or consideration of potential societal impact at principles of the EU Charter, the Opinions of the Artificial Intelligence, Bioelectronics, Cloud attention in the media and by policy makers. The conceptthe stage of evaluating research proposals. In the case European Group on Ethics in Science and New Computing have been found to have the repackages many ideas, such as shifting software fromof quantum computing and cloud computing, the outlines Technologies (EGE) as well as of other National (Bio- potential of positively affecting gender the desktop into a central “cloud”, that have been in exis-of practical applications are as yet indistinct and thus it )Ethics Committees (NEC) and other official EU docu- power relations and thus improve gender tence for some several years already. The question isseems advisable to monitor technological developments ments. The core values of European institutions high- equality in the labour market across EU whether it will break through as a pervasive approach toclosely before deciding on the topics of ethical or social lighted in this analysis included human dignity, freedom, countries and worldwide; computing or remain restricted to certain applications oranalyses. freedom of research, privacy, and justice. We also took I More research on the relationship types of user. This is obviously an issue for further The aim of technology assessment is to disentangle into consideration the principle of proportionality, the between gender and ICT design, applica- research. Ifact from fiction, in particular to separate hype from like- precautionary principle and the principle of transparen- tion and representation is needed so as toly reality. Enthusiasm for a technology, for whatever rea- cy as key principles. According to this framework we enhance a better understanding of ethical Contact: www.kit.eduson, might suggest that its impact is imminent, while it concluded that the following technologies have a very issues resulting from unequal participation10 I ETICA ETICA I 11
  7. 7. Measuring theimpact ofemerging ICTFUNDP’s role in the ETICA project was to reflect upon current ethicalgovernance approaches and to advise on an ethical governance strategyFUNDP seeks to address the issue of ethical issue technology assessment risks ‘framing’ issues in a nar- Experts tend todetermination and resolution in ethical governance row way. Reducing contexts to factors presupposed inapproaches and ICT development. The way this is a framing leads to inadequate norm-construction. Theapproached is to rethink the relation of norms and problem is how to include the perspectives of the pro- reduce all problems tocontexts in current approaches. posed addressees of a norm as it is their context that ‘Norms’ deal with what we ought to do, in distinction will be affected by ICT research and development. problems ofwith what we can do. In current approaches to ethical Seeing things from another’s point of view is a centralgovernance, norms are treated as separable from con- part of governance insofar as accountability in a demo- Figure 1: Relationships For instance, a technologist may have perfect faith in R&D. Through a dialogue approach in which the publictexts. This results from presupposing that a norm issuccessfully articulated when it is issued with good cratic context relies upon the notions that: 1. no particular point of view is ruled out in principle; justification between WP4 and other Work Packages the inherent goodness of scientific progress. Such a faith can fail to pick out what might be genuinely felt have a say, framed in terms of ethics by experts, fram- ings are opened both on the public and expert side. Theintentions or that good things flow as if by logic from its 2. the possibility of maximising convergence by some concerns among the public about a possible effect of a matter of discussion is also kept to the ethical.articulation. fair means exists. development in, say, computing. Affective computing Public participation needn’t be thought of as a resolu- Given a norm is prescriptive, the context in which it is However, through years of careful training, research might represent an exciting breakthrough from the per- tion tool. In using the notion of context as part of thearticulated is of central importance. Arguments about and experience certain modes of governance have spective of a technology expert, and one too good to be problem at hand, this recognises a distinction betweenissues are not sufficient for ethics. Action is required, taken on the status of reflexes. restrained. A member of the public might fear the pos- determining an ethical issue and determining theand action doesn’t necessarily result from even the sibilities for surveillance or integrity. The problem is apprehension of the problem. Determining that appre-best arguments. Expertise between sensors and sensibilities. hension is where the distinction between significance Norms embody values, interests. The problem is that Between the 1980s and 2000s (between the Single The stakes for the split communities of expert and lay and meaning takes hold, and where the difference inethical issues are broadly determined by experts in European Act and the Lisbon Summit), various commit- public are often different. Experts in technology enjoy technical understanding and self-understandings takeestablished approaches. The ways in which issues are tees were set up to maintain supranational accountabil- scientific progress in itself, and see the exciting bene- hold.determined and norms established are those that come ity across Europe. Committees of experts are thought fits that can be offered by its pursuit. For the public, A change in mindset is required. This is simple in thatmost naturally to experts from given fields. The way to have special insight into any given topic at hand. In ways of life and interpersonal relations are what’s key. all it takes is a realisation, but difficult as that realisationexperts see problems are constrained by their fram- ethics concerning emerging ICT development, these These can easily be threatened in a context of unfet- is a subtle one. The ethical perspective required is aings. Expertise is often quite remote from day-to-day experts might be technologists, sociologists, philoso- tered scientific and technological advance. An expert reflexive one, one wherein views are constructed inexperience, however. The issues detected (or not) by phers, political scientists or anyone else with an expert- simply telling the public that they have good arguments terms of the view-holder – the necessity of constructingexperts can fail to map onto those felt by people in gen- ise. What they have in common is a role in tempering for the development does nothing to allay fears. norms in terms of the context of application. Thiseral. Experts tend to conflate standards of justification the process of research in order to factor in concerns What this might suggest is that the current reflexes requires getting out of the intellectual reflex of utilisingwith those of application of norms. that the public at large might have about the trajectory The stakes regarding governance are based on uncertain ground. argumentative reason – stopping the resort to ‘the force for the split FUNDP, in Work Package 4, examines the very in general of technology, or the specific implications of Naturally, the whole edifice cannot be ripped down. of the better argument’ as the only means of address-nature of norms. This approach is adopted in order to a particular piece of technology in development. Revisions of the elements of the reflex are possible. ing integration of different views. Narration, interpreta- communitiesget to the very root of the problem of ethical reflection. ETICA has found via its research that, contrary to the After all, the elements of governance have emerged via tion and reconstruction are also key elements of humanIn getting to the root of that problem, ethical issue aim of putting civil society views centre-stage, these 20+ years of experiment and research. The status quo reason and understanding.determination is made possible. The alternative to a approaches in fact result in an inadequate account of of expert represents a contingent arrangement of the various The place of narration can be seen as illustrated by and laynormative approach would be a descriptive approach. public concern. Rather, the use of experts very often elements. So it can be seen that a rearrangement is the following problem: when contradictory arguments‘Norm’ in such an approach would merely be a statisti- has the effect of posing technological development in both possible and in the spirit of the broader conception are aired, it is required that the parties involved will sub- publiccal entity – rather than referring to what people ought to terms relevant to narrow, sectoral interests. Experts of governance. mit themselves to nothing but the force of the betterdo it would refer to what people actually do. This is also tend to reduce all problems to problems of justifi- argument. But the acceptance of arguments will itselfinsufficient for ethics as ethics deals with ‘oughts’. cation, rarely thinking about application of solutions. are often Using Expertise – Ethics as a Creative Component be conditional on values. Thus, narration doesn’t fit different Self-reflection must be sought in approaching ethical Good arguments, however, don’t automatically encour- Through attention paid to the construction of context, within argumentation, but rather argumentation decen-governance. Even using sophisticated tools such as age action. people can come to an informed view of an aspect of tres narrative authenticity.12 I ETICA ETICA I 13
  8. 8. Outcome: telling truth to power? Instead, the reflexive view needs to ask, for example,why a belief is held? What it means for the believer?What incentive would be required to alter that belief?This is rather than the status quo wherein one wouldseek abstract arguments for a counter point that mightbe logically valid, but fail to develop a meaning for thebeliever. This would amount to a domination of logicover self-understanding. Each is a legitimate aspect ofhuman reason, but the domination is not justified. Forethics to be effective it must be overcome.RecommendationsIncorporating ethics into ICT research and develop-ment requires that industry, researchers, civil society The main aim of the ETICA project was to give guidance to policy makers onorganisations realise explicitly that ethical sensitivity isin the interest of ICT users and providers; that they dis- how ethical concerns need to be intertwined with technological progresstinguish between law and ethics and see that followinglegal requirements is not always sufficient to addressethical issues; that they engage in discussion of whatconstitutes ethical issues and are open to incorporationof gender, environmental and other issues. These realisations will facilitate ethical reflexivity in TheseICT projects and practice as they allow stakeholders to ONE of ETICA’s research outcomes is to give rec-realise that ethical issues are context-dependent and what issues are ‘relevant’). Given the horizontal, egali- ommendations particularly to policy makers on realisationsneed specific attention of individuals with local knowl- tarian makeup of such a forum and the diverse mem- how to look at and deal with ethical issues ofedge and understanding and to simultaneously consid- bership, this is a means of incorporating more than just emerging technologies with the view that these will will facilitateer the identification of ethical issues and their resolu- argumentative reason (i.e. narrative, interpretive and be thought through and incorporated early on as a ethicaltions. This is a creative force as it allows stakeholders reconstructive reason) in policy deliberation. This technology be open about the description of the project and its means there is a means to include value as well as Through its various work packages and dissemination reflexivity inethical issues and to encourage broader stakeholder norm in policy deliberation, overcoming one of the activities which attracted input and feedback from vari-engagement in the identification and resolution of ethi- major obstacles to ethical norm construction in context ous quarters of society, recommendations have begun ICT projectscal questions. and thereby making a central contribution to ethical to emerge as research and analysis has progressed. From a policy-making perspective, this approach governance in ICT development. This section gives a synthesis of these recommenda-needs to be facilitated by an emphasis not just upon Through these changes in mindset, incentivised by tions. To provide a scientifically based approach theoutcomes, but on incentivising the ethics procedure. policy: recommendations have mainly emerged from the differ-This can be done by providing a regulatory framework I The gap between expert and lay-people is closed. ent stages of the work undertaken by each work pack-which will support Ethical Impact Assessment for ICTs. I The construction of norms in context is permitted. age (WP) beginning with: Emphasis currently is on ethical issue determination I Allowing the question of which norms upon which I WP1 which identified emerging technologiesas an end in itself. But this is centred upon ideas of ethical issues ought to be determined to be opened. I WP2 which identified and analysed ethical issues ofcompliance, consent or authorisation. This must be re- I Dialogue is predicated on a basis broader than argu- these emerging technologiesoriented in order to incentivise the entire process of mentation. I WP3 which evaluated and ranked the ethical issuesethics from determination of issues) to resolution. I Content shapes the approach rather than form from different perspectives according to their severi- There needs also to be the use of policy instruments annexing content. ty and likelihoodconcurrent with a project’s development over time, not Through this, ethics in emerging ICT development is I WP4 which continues to look at governance struc-simply at the start, again to combat the notion that made a real possibility. I tures of ethical issues.ethics is a compliance measure to ‘get through’. The As each of the above WPs fed into each other’s WPspolicy instruments used ought to include negative Professor Philippe Goujon is a professor of philoso- to produce an overall picture of the research findingsincentives (i.e. sanctions) for lack of compliance and phy embedded within FUNDP’s Computer Science and eventual recommendations, the recommendationsabsence of the will to comply. department, who has a particular interest in the rela- come from different components of the ETICA project. In order to facilitate learning in a meaningful way, and tionships between science, technology, and society. The different components add value to the type of rec-one that allows the expansion of reason beyond the His background is in epistemology and ethical reflec- ommendations that will be outlined because theymerely argumentative, we recommend that policy mak- tion on emerging technologies such as Genetically ensure that different facets of ethics of emerging tech- Recommendations for policy makersers create an ‘observatory’ for ethics that would serve Modified Organisms, as well as ethical governance of nologies are dealt with. Policy makers have an important role to create the reg-as a resource open to all, thereby extending the technologies, which makes him ideally placed to lead By exploring technologies, ethical issues and current ulatory framework and the infrastructure to allow ethicsresources of ethics and ethical governance practices the Governance work package of the ETICA project. ways to address these, the ETICA project has devel- to be considered in ICT. ETICA recommends the follow-beyond the realm of established expertise. In a similar oped the following recommendations. These recom- ing three main areas of policy activity:vein, in order to facilitate the ongoing exchange of Dr. Catherine Flick has a background in computer sci- mendations are relevant to policy makers involved in Provide regulatory framework which will supportideas and best practices, and in a mode not unlike that ence and computer ethics, with a recently conferred science and technology policy, industry and civil socie- Ethical Impact Assessment for ICTsof the NEC forum, we recommend that policy makers PhD on informed consent in ICTs. She joins Prof. ty with the aim to facilitate the integration of ethical I To raise awareness of the importance of ethics ininstitute a ‘stakeholder forum’. Goujon to work on ethical governance in emerging reflexivity into technical research and development. new ICTs This forum would facilitate interchange between exist- ICTs. This will allow addressing ethical issues efficiently. I To encourage ethical reflexivity within ICT researching bodies in a manner that would be institutionalised. The recommendations are aimed at two different sets and developmentIn this, it would facilitate the ongoing discussion of rel- Contact: of stakeholder: policy makers and users or developers I To provide appropriate tools and methods to identifyevant issues (indeed, would contribute to discovering of new ICTs. and address ethical issues14 I ETICA ETICA I 15