‘Doing’ technology ethics
Review of Marc Steen’s ‘Ethics for people who work in tech’
Keywords:ethics, technology, consequentialism, deontology, virtue ethics, relational ethics, human-centred design, value sensitive design, responsible innovation
Ten years ago, pundits claimed that 3-D printing would change the world (D’Aveni, 2013). That this is, to put it kindly, not true yet, goes to show that claims about the impact of new technologies are always highly speculative. Today, large language models (or tools based on them) are the latest technology to promise or threaten disruption in almost every walk of life, from work to education to art. But it remains to be seen how broad, deep, and lasting the impact will be. If uncertainty surrounds even the short-term impact of technologies that, though new, are at large in society, how much more difficult is it to anticipate the ways in which technologies not yet at large might fit into, reshape, or upturn our lives? There is no shortage of work on such issues. Yet Marc Steen’s Ethics for people who work in tech, published this year by CRC Press, is a welcome addition. Steen aims to empower tech professionals—an ill-defined but arguably underserved group—to manage, and take responsibility for, the impact of the technologies they develop.
D’Aveni, R. A. (2013, March 1). 3-D Printing Will Change the World. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2013/03/3-d-printing-will-change-the-world
Doris, J. M. (2010). Lack of character: Personality and moral behavior. Cambridge University Press.
Vallor, S. (2018). Technology and the Virtues. Oxford University Press.
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