Ethical assessment of new technologies: a meta‐methodology

Ethical assessment of new technologies: a meta‐methodology Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to set out a structured meta‐methodology, named DIODE, for the ethical assessment of new and emerging technologies. DIODE has been designed by a mixture of academics, governmental people and commercial practitioners. It is designed to help diverse organisations and individuals conduct ethical assessments of new and emerging technologies. Design/methodology/approach – A framework discussion paper was developed for consultation to ensure that DIODE addresses fundamental ethical concerns, has appropriate and manageable scope and is comprehensive in its ethical compass. The resulting DIODE meta‐methodology uses flowcharts and templates, encompassing the use of diverse tools and techniques. Findings – There are two different angles for the ethical assessment of new technologies; a strategic/abstract angle and a project/application specific angle. DIODE includes two channels to accommodate this distinction. Early stage testing yielded positive feedback and mostly favourable comment. Additional guidance materials are being developed in response to the feedback. Practical implications – Without training and guidance, it is difficult for technologists to take ethical concerns into account during the development and deployment of new technologies. DIODE can provide that training and guidance through a practical meta‐methodology which should help ICT professionals, policy makers and academics. Originality/value – There is very little structured methodology material available on the ethical assessment of new technologies. The depth and sophistication contained in DIODE is therefore believed to be unique. DIODE provides practical help while remaining rooted in the philosophical and theoretical concepts of ethics. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1477-996X
DOI
10.1108/14779961111123223
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to set out a structured meta‐methodology, named DIODE, for the ethical assessment of new and emerging technologies. DIODE has been designed by a mixture of academics, governmental people and commercial practitioners. It is designed to help diverse organisations and individuals conduct ethical assessments of new and emerging technologies. Design/methodology/approach – A framework discussion paper was developed for consultation to ensure that DIODE addresses fundamental ethical concerns, has appropriate and manageable scope and is comprehensive in its ethical compass. The resulting DIODE meta‐methodology uses flowcharts and templates, encompassing the use of diverse tools and techniques. Findings – There are two different angles for the ethical assessment of new technologies; a strategic/abstract angle and a project/application specific angle. DIODE includes two channels to accommodate this distinction. Early stage testing yielded positive feedback and mostly favourable comment. Additional guidance materials are being developed in response to the feedback. Practical implications – Without training and guidance, it is difficult for technologists to take ethical concerns into account during the development and deployment of new technologies. DIODE can provide that training and guidance through a practical meta‐methodology which should help ICT professionals, policy makers and academics. Originality/value – There is very little structured methodology material available on the ethical assessment of new technologies. The depth and sophistication contained in DIODE is therefore believed to be unique. DIODE provides practical help while remaining rooted in the philosophical and theoretical concepts of ethics.

Journal

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in SocietyEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 1, 2011

Keywords: Ethics; Information technology; Assessment

References

  • Ethics and technology design
    Albrechtslund, A.
  • What is computer ethics?
    Moor, J.H.
  • Why we need better ethics for emerging technologies
    Moor, J.H.
  • Ethics and ICT
    Rogerson, S.
  • Health technology assessment (HTA): ethical aspects
    Sacchini, D.; Virdis, A.; Refolo, P.; Pennacchini, M.; de Paula, I.C.
  • Feminist theories of technology
    Wajcman, J.

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