How do (moral) values affect technology and its development?

There is a generalized concern that new technologies displace humans from the center of production of knowledge: AI in healthcare is increasingly deciding patients’ diagnoses and treatments, and medical AI is gradually finding and developing new drugs. But this concern can be put at ease when the development of these technologies follows our human values. AI in healthcare must preserve the principles of beneficence and non-maleficence and accepted new drugs must still uphold social, moral, and scientific standards. It is by putting these various human values (moral, cultural, epistemic, social) at the center of the development of new technologies that they will serve their intended purposes. The EPT section is committed to studying and teaching how these human values should be understood and implemented in the development of new technologies.

Dr. Juan Durán

Technologies aim to make the world better, they pursue the realisation of major values, such as well-being, safety, health, connectivity, etc. This aim can be compromised because new technologies may also go to the extent of other values. A car might increase our comfort, connectivity and freedom, but it can also leads to pollution, congestion and accidents. This compels technology developers to take a broad range of values into account, which can only be done by nurturing the reflexivity and creativity of technology developers. The EPT section provides teaching and methods that facilitate such nurturing.

Udo Pesch

In our work we have developed various approaches and tools for better integrating social and moral values into technical design. However, values are not static and may change, sometime due to technical developments. New technologies may require the articulation of new values in order to properly deal with their moral effects and hazards, like the value of ‘explainability’ in the case of Machine Learning. In our research, we aim to better understand the interaction between, and mutual co-shaping of technology and values.

Ibo van de Poel