Ethics and technology design

Anders Albrechtslund

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearch

Abstract

This article offers a discussion of the connection between technology and values and,
specifically, I take a closer look at ethically sound design. In order to bring the discussion into a concrete context, the theory of Value Sensitive Design (VSD) will be the focus point. To illustrate my argument concerning design ethics, the discussion involves a case study of an augmented window, designed by the VSD Research Lab, which has turned out to be a potentially surveillanceenabling technology. I call attention to a “positivist problem” that has to do with the connection between the design context and the use context, which VSD seems to presuppose, and I argue that it is necessary to clearly distinguish between the two, since the designers’ intentions do not always correspond with the users’ practice; in fact, the relation between design and use is very complex and principally unpredictable. Thus, a design theory must accept that foresight is limited to anticipation rather than prediction. To overcome the positivist problem, I suggest a phenomenological approach to technology inspired by Don Ihde’s concept of multistability. This argument, which is general in nature and thus applies to any theory of design ethics, is intended as a constructive criticism, which can hopefully contribute to the further development of design ethics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2006
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventE-CAP - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 22 Jun 200624 Jun 2006

Conference

ConferenceE-CAP
CountryNorway
CityTrondheim
Period22/06/200624/06/2006

Fingerprint

Positivist
Prediction
Foresight
Sound Design
Criticism
Anticipation
Designer
Theory of Value
Design Theory
Intentions
Design Argument

Keywords

  • ethics
  • surveillance
  • Value-sensitive design

Cite this

Albrechtslund, A. (2006). Ethics and technology design. Abstract from E-CAP, Trondheim, Norway.
Albrechtslund, Anders. / Ethics and technology design. Abstract from E-CAP, Trondheim, Norway.
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Albrechtslund, A 2006, 'Ethics and technology design', E-CAP, Trondheim, Norway, 22/06/2006 - 24/06/2006.

Ethics and technology design. / Albrechtslund, Anders.

2006. Abstract from E-CAP, Trondheim, Norway.

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearch

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AB - This article offers a discussion of the connection between technology and values and,specifically, I take a closer look at ethically sound design. In order to bring the discussion into a concrete context, the theory of Value Sensitive Design (VSD) will be the focus point. To illustrate my argument concerning design ethics, the discussion involves a case study of an augmented window, designed by the VSD Research Lab, which has turned out to be a potentially surveillanceenabling technology. I call attention to a “positivist problem” that has to do with the connection between the design context and the use context, which VSD seems to presuppose, and I argue that it is necessary to clearly distinguish between the two, since the designers’ intentions do not always correspond with the users’ practice; in fact, the relation between design and use is very complex and principally unpredictable. Thus, a design theory must accept that foresight is limited to anticipation rather than prediction. To overcome the positivist problem, I suggest a phenomenological approach to technology inspired by Don Ihde’s concept of multistability. This argument, which is general in nature and thus applies to any theory of design ethics, is intended as a constructive criticism, which can hopefully contribute to the further development of design ethics.

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Albrechtslund A. Ethics and technology design. 2006. Abstract from E-CAP, Trondheim, Norway.