NanoEthics

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 1–13 | Cite as

Anticipatory Ethics for Emerging Technologies

Original Paper

Abstract

In this essay, a new approach for the ethical study of emerging technology ethics will be presented, called anticipatory technology ethics (ATE). The ethics of emerging technology is the study of ethical issues at the R&D and introduction stage of technology development through anticipation of possible future devices, applications, and social consequences. I will argue that a major problem for its development is the problem of uncertainty, which can only be overcome through methodologically sound forecasting and futures studies. I will then consider three contemporary approaches to the ethics of emerging technologies that use forecasting: ethical technology assessment, the techno-ethical scenarios approach and the ETICA approach, and I considered their strengths and weaknesses. Based on this critical study, I then present my own approach: ATE. ATE is a conceptually and methodologically rich approach for the ethical analysis of emerging technologies that incorporates a large variety of ethical principles, issues, objects and levels of analysis, and research aims. It is ready to be applied to contemporary and future emerging technologies.

Keywords

Anticipatory technology ethics Emerging technologies Uncertainty Futures studies Forecasting Technology assessment 

References

  1. 1.
    Bell W (1997) Foundations of futures studies, vol. 1: human science for a new era: history, purposes, knowledge. Transaction Publishers, New BrunswickGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Boenink M, Swierstra T, Stemerding D (2010) Anticipating the interaction between technology and morality: a scenario study of experimenting with humans in bionanotechnology. Stud Ethics Law Tech 4(2), art. 4Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brey P (2000) Disclosive computer ethics: the exposure and evaluation of embedded normativity in computer technology. Comput Soc 30(4):10–16Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Friedman B, Kahn P, Borning A (2006) Value sensitive design and information systems. In: Zhang P, Galletta D (eds) Human-computer interaction in management information systems: foundations. M.E Sharpe, ArmonkGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Grünwald A (2009) Technology assessment: concepts and methods. In: Meijers A (ed) Philosophy of technology and engineering sciences. Handbook of the philosophy of science vol. 9. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Heersmink R, van den Hoven J, Timmermans J (2010) Normative issues report. Deliverable D.2.2. Located at http://www.etica-project.eu/
  7. 7.
    Palm E, Hansson SO (2006) The case for ethical technology assessment (eTA). Technol Forecast Soc Change 73:543–558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sollie P (2007) Ethics, technology development and uncertainty: an outline for any future ethics of technology. J Inform Comm Ethics Soc 5(4):293–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Stahl B (2011) IT for a better future: how to integrate ethics, politics and innovation. J Inform Comm Ethics Soc 9(3):140–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Stahl B, Heersmink R, Goujon P, Flick C, van den Hoven J, Wakunuma K (2010) Identifying the ethics of emerging information and communication technologies: an essay on issues, concepts and method. Int J Technoethics 1(4):20–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Swierstra T, Rip A (2007) Nano-ethics as NEST-ethics: patterns of moral argumentation about new and emerging science and technology. Nanoethics 1:3–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tran T, Daim T (2008) A taxonomic review of methods and tools applied in technology assessment. Technol Forecast Soc Change 75(9):1396–1405CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, School of Behavioral SciencesUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations