Life without digital media seems more and more unimaginable: It has more or less radically changed the way we communicate, inform ourselves, travel and consume. No one seriously wants to lack the obvious benefits of its possibilities anymore.
At the same time, the increasing digitalisation poses unprecedented challenges to our society: How, for instance, do algorithms whose ways of functioning are generally insufficiently understood and who are not subject to any form of democratic control, already influence our opinion making? To what extent are public blockchains like Bitcoin with an energy consumption comparable to that of whole countries ethically justifiable considering climate change? And can we ever let artificial intelligence – no matter if in the context of artificial driving or of military drones – judge over life and death?
These indeed striking, yet relevant examples show that the use of digitalisation must not only be subject to technocratic criteria of feasibility. Rather, human autonomy and responsibility should always be a part of the equation so that digitalisation serves humanity and not the other way around.
Therefore, do we need ethics of digitalisation? This weblog wants to devote itself to this very question on the basis of diverse approaches. It wants to raise awareness for the topic as well as contribute to the discussion in this important field.
Do you have questions or suggestions on this topic yourself? Then please do not hesitate to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Martin Wan is a studied theologian specialised in Artificial Intelligence, former web developer and IT consultant and head of project in the German “Higher Education Forum on Digitalisation”, a project devoted to the development of digital university teaching in Germany financed by the German Federal Ministry for Education. Next to his interest in digitalisation, ethics and education politics he is fond of music and good coffee.
The opinions and positions expressed on this website are the author’s private views and do not necessarily mirror the position of his employer.