RI 2016: Week 7

Designing for Values

Welcome to the final week of the MOOC on Responsible Innovation. We're impressed by your eagerness and commitment in sticking with the lessons over the course. This will be the final week, and accordingly, we will try to end this course on a proactive note. What can YOU do going forward to contribute to Responsible Innovation?

Since the beginning, we have been discussing the need for responsible innovation in an age when our technological prowess has the capability to radically alter the dynamics of our interactions with the technology, with the environment and of course with one another. We took critical looks at values, responsibilities, institutions, innovation (and development) and risk & safety.

Now the natural question moving forward would be, if we were to design a technology from scratch, how could we design it in a way that it preserves the values we hold dear? Can we, for example, avoid the Collingridge Dilemma? How can we systematically codify these values and translate them into design requirements? These questions, and more, will be answered in this week's lectures, where we will be discussing 'Designing for Values'  also known as  Value Sensitive Design (VSD).

We will briefly cover the origins of VSD, and advantages of this approach. Then we will cover a framework for implementing VSD in practice, namely using the Values Hierarchy matrix. The Values Hierarchy Matrix explicitly operationalises Values, Norms and Design Criteria (from top to bottom, in that order). Please do check our key reading in section 7.2. 

We will have some interesting case studies:

  • Autonomous Weapons (which is also the focus of our final assignment).
  • Artificial Intelligence &  ethical concerns. Please do post your questions and give your opinion (poll) on this very topical issue, we will give feedback around May 20, 2016.
  • Designing for Trust and Presence.
  • Wind Energy.

VSD can be both a top-down or bottom-up process. We can define core values and then operationalise them into design requirements, or we can try to understand what values existing design requirements preserve or achieve.

Our second peer review assignment is about VSD and autonomous weapons.  In Section 7.3 we will explain  the ethical questions and the policy recommendations for such weapons.  So how can we translate this into aValues Hierarchy Matrix for VSD?