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Workshop: Ethical Guidance For Research And Application Of Pervasive And Autonomous Information Technology

Investigators
Pimple, Kenneth D; Schrag, Brian
Institutions
Indiana University - Bloomington
Start date
2009
End date
2011
Abstract

This workshop, supported by the Science, Technology & Society Program and the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at NSF, will discuss ethical guidance for research and application of pervasive and autonomous information technology. Technologies are being developed today using very small, relatively inexpensive, wireless-enabled computers that will most likely result in the near-omnipresence of information gathering and processing devices embedded in clothing, appliances, carpets, food packaging, doors and windows, paperback books, and other everyday items to gather data about when and how (and possibly by whom) an item is used. The data can be analyzed, stored, and shared via the Internet. Some of these pervasive technologies will also be autonomous, making decisions on their own about what data to gather and share, which actions to take (sound an alarm, lock a door), and the like. The potential benefits of pervasive and autonomous information technology are many and varied, sometimes obvious, sometimes obscure--as are the ethical implications of their development and deployment. The history of information technology suggests that long-standing issues including usability, privacy, and security, among others, as well as relatively new phenomena such as ethically blind autonomous systems, are best addressed early. When such issues are addressed early, they can become part of the culture of researchers and engineers responsible for identifying needs and designing solutions. This will be an international meeting of experts in ubiquitous and autonomous information technologies, ethicists well-versed in practical ethics, and other stakeholders. The meeting will feature: discussions of case studies describing actual and anticipated uses of pervasive and autonomous information technology, invited presentations on key issues, working groups to identify and categorize ethical concerns, and other community-building activities aimed at formulating ethical principles to help researchers and designers recognize and address ethical issues at every stage, from design to deployment to obsolescence. The participants will form the core of a new interdisciplinary subfield of value-centered pervasive and autonomous information technology which will build on the principles by developing guidelines and conceptual tools to support communication and collaboration among researchers, engineers, and ethicists.

Funding Source
United States Nat'l. Science Fndn.
Project number
848097
Categories
Packaging Residues