ETHICS-2021 – Well-being and ethically aligned design Session, 30 October ’21

By on February 8th, 2022 in Conferences, Social Implications of Technology, Videos

The “Well-being and ethically aligned design” session took place during ETHICS 2021 on 31 October 2021. Moderator: John Havens

Click here to watch the video recording of the session.

This panel focused on ‘Wellbeing and Ethically Aligned Design.’ While avoidance of harm is critical for engineering and systems design, the recent focus – on risk classification regarding Artificial Intelligence from the European Union – has the policy and corporate worlds primarily focused on what shouldn’t happen for society, versus what needs to happen to create our most purpose-driven, positive future.

The first presenter is Bogdana Rakova, who focused on how interactions would bridge the gaps between technologies and social science. Bogdana referenced the socio-ecological aspects – the human system and the ecosystem – which interact with one another. Her second point is on the theories of change. Ethical AI requires system thinking. Bogdana described it in three levels: first, effectiveness; second, doing better things, and the third is to see things differently. The measurement framework suggested that organizations should employ systems thinking and organizational science to create long-term structures. Bogdana lastly described a speculative fiction workshop that aims to create a specific, collective, and possible (but uncertain) future.

The second presenter is Prof. Dr. Sarah Spiekermann, whose focus was on IEEE 7000 guidelines. Sarah pointed out the significance of IEEE 7000: it aims to help change the practice of innovation. Therefore, IEEE 7000 with Value Based Engineering (VBE) is expected to make a difference in the industry. Spiekermann used the analogy of the design of the Versailles Garden to set the scene for the discussion and evaluated the design of a smart toy for kids from the lens of VBE/IEEE 7000.

Deborah Hagar introduced her interest in creating a better future and addressed the issues that needed to change. Deborah compared the achievement of goals of CSR to the achievement of budget goals. It is important to educate business users on how goals are important as they are interacting with daily operations. Meanwhile, it is also important to co-create solutions to reach common goals. As we all make mistakes, adjustments to goals can better accelerate the process and help us achieve more. Deborah also pointed out organizations should pay attention not only to capital assets but also to data. In this way, organizations can better bring value to shareholders.

The last presenter of the session was Melodena Stephens. Melodena’s focus is on human-centered design thinking. Melodena stated that we need to understand how people think in order to innovate. An example of traffic light design was used: the different colors of countdown timers made a difference in drivers’ interpretations of whether they should speed and pass the lights! It is also important to note the digital divide in education, infrastructure, access to technology, ability to use technology, relevance, and the age and gender divide. Two further points were made: firstly, regarding how interpretations change when teams consist of both humans and machines; and finally, that there are always tradeoffs in development.