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Moral Mediation: How can we moralise technology?

Verbeek explains how we can moralise technology; anticipating, assessing and designing.

In this video we explain how one could start moralising things. I aimed to emphasise that we are fundamentally mediated beings; technologies always mediate us. The theory of mediation – and the examples from the previous step – shows that any design, whether you want it or not, does have an impact on human behaviour. There is no way to get around an impact.

In the next three steps we will have a closer look at what designers can do to go about this.

  • First, performing a mediation analysis can help them to anticipate (see STEP 3.5 – How can we anticipate the moral dimensions of technology-in-design?) the moral dimensions of the technology-in-design, for instance in order to avoid undesirable mediating effects.

  • Second, mediation analysis can be the basis for assessing (see STEP 3.6 – How can we assess the quality of mediations in design?) the quality of expected mediations. Making such assessments, to be sure, does not imply a shift back from ‘accompanying’ to ‘assessing’ technology; it rather should be seen a fully-fledged part of ‘technology accompaniment’.

  • Third, mediations can be explicitly designed (see STEP 3.7 – How can you design moral technology?) into a technology. In this case, we can speak of an explicit ‘moralisation’ of technology.

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Philosophy of Technology and Design: Shaping the Relations Between Humans and Technologies

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