Advertisement

Ethics and Decisions in Distributed Technologies: A Problem of Trust and Governance Advocating Substantive Democracy

  • Antonio CarnevaleEmail author
  • Carmela Occhipinti
Conference paper
  • 14 Downloads
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 1009)

Abstract

The distributed architecture of applications such as blockchains, wireless sensor networks, multi-agent platforms, and the Internet of Things charges technological development to face, by default, with two aspects of responsibility that were usually accorded to human beings: the “decision” (Who is enabled to make decisions in a decentralized system? What about the mechanism for deciding? Authorized by whom? With what kind of consensus?) and “ethics” (To which principles must respond the decision-making mechanism? And, if decisions are distributed, what is the role of ethics? To guide or to laissez-faire? Permissive or restrictive? For everyone or only for those who are authorized?). Responding to these epochal questions can lead to rethinking the distributed technologies in view of a game-changing transformation of models of trust-in-governance. From a model signed by centralization of trust, we have come to progressively more decentralized forms until the contemporary “distributed trust”. This paper constitutes an endeavor to introduce and address the main philosophical foundations of this historical passage.

Keywords

Ethics Philosophy of technology Blockchain Governance Trust Decision-making Relation of economics to social values 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the project PERSONA funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme EU.3.7.6. under grant agreement No. 787123.

References

  1. 1.
    Kirckpatrick, G.: Technology and Social Power. Palgrave Macmillan, Hants (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Floridi, L.: The 4th Revolution: How the Infosphere is Reshaping Human Reality. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2014)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Warren, S.D., Brandeis, L.D.: The right to privacy. Harvard Law Rev. 4(5), 193–220 (1890)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Garcia-Rivadulla, S.: Personalization vs. privacy: an inevitable trade-off? IFLA J. 42(3), 227–38 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Taylor, L., Floridi, L., van der Sloot, B. (eds.): Group Privacy. Springer, Berlin (2017)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
  7. 7.
    Verbeek, P.P.: Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things. Chicago University Press, Chicago (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Brey, P.: The technological construction of social power. Soc. Epistemology 22(1), 71–95 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lakoff, G., Johnson, M.: Metaphors We Live By. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Halpin, H., Monnin, A. (eds.): Philosophical Engineering: Toward a Philosophy of the Web. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford (2014)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Rauchs, M., Glidden, A., Gordon, B., Pieters, G., Recanatini, M., Rostand, F., Vagneur, K., Zhang, B.: Distributed Ledger Technology Systems: A Conceptual Framework. Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK (2018). https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3230013. Accessed 06 Apr 2019/04/06
  12. 12.
    Haberand, W.S.: How to time-stamp a digital document. J. Cryptol. 3, 99–111 (1991)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nakamoto, S.: Bitcoin: a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. http://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf. Accessed 06 Apr 2019
  14. 14.
    Pilkington, M.: Blockchain technology: principles and applications. In: Olleros, X.F., Zhegu, M. (eds.) Research Handbook on Digital Transformations. Edward Elgar, UK (2015)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Grech, A., Camilleri, A.F.: Blockchain in Education. In: dos Santos, A.I. (ed.). http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC108255/jrc108255_blockchain_in_education%281%29.pdf. Accessed 06 Apr 2019
  16. 16.
    Steiner, J.: Blockchain Can Bring Transparency to Supply Chains. The Business of Fashion (2015). http://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/opinion/op-ed-blockchain-can-bringtransparency-to-supply-chains. Accessed 06 Apr 2019
  17. 17.
    Kokkinakos, P., Koussouris, S., Panopoulos, D., Askounis, D., Ramfos, A., Georgousopoulos, C., Wittern, E.: Citizens collaboration and co-creation in public service delivery: the COCKPIT project. Int. J. Electron. Govern. Res. 8(3), 33–62 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Merlinda, A., Robu, V., Flynn, D., Abram, S., Geach, D., Jenkins, D., McCallum, P., Peacock, A.: Blockchain technology in the energy sector: a systematic review of challenges and opportunities. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 100, 143–174 (2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Finck, M.: Blockchains and Data Protection in the European Union. SSRN Scholarly Paper. Social Science Research Network, Rochester (2017)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    UK GOS: Distributed Ledger Technology: beyond block chain. A report by the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser (2016)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Böhme, R., Christin, N., Edelman, B., Moore, T.: Bitcoin: economics, technology, and governance. J. Econ. Perspect. 29(2), 213–238 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
  23. 23.
    Anscombe, G.E.M.: Modern moral philosophy. Philosophy 33, 1–19 (1958)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Pettit, P.: The cunning of trust. Philos. Public Aff. 24, 202–225 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Parsons, T.: Politics and Social Structure. Free Press, New York (1969)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Walker, M.U.: Moral Repair: Reconstructing Moral Relations After Wrongdoing. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Botsman, R.: Who Can You Trust? How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart. PublicAffairs, New York (2017)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Abdui-Rahman, A., Hailes, S.: A distributed trust model. In: New Security Paradigms Workshop Langdale, Cumbria UK (1997)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sen, A.: Equality of What? In: McMurrin, S. (ed.) Tanner Lectures on Human Values, vol. 1, pp. 353–369. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1980)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Cohen, J.: An epistemic conception of democracy. Ethics 97, 26–38 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Habermas, J.: Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy. MIT Press, Cambridge (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    European Blockchain Observatory and Forum, a European Commission initiative to accelerate blockchain innovation and the development. https://www.eublockchainforum.eu/. Accessed 06 Apr 2019

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CyberEthics LabCarditoItaly

Personalised recommendations