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Addressing ethical gaps in “technology for good”: foregrounding care and capabilities

Powell, Alison, Ustek Spilda, Funda, Lehuede Bravo, Sebastian and Shklovski, Irina (2022) Addressing ethical gaps in “technology for good”: foregrounding care and capabilities. Big Data and Society, 9 (2). 1 - 12. ISSN 2053-9517

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Identification Number: 10.1177/20539517221113774


This paper identifies and addresses persistent gaps in the consideration of ethical practice in ‘technology for good’ development contexts. Its main contribution is to model an integrative approach using multiple ethical frameworks to analyse and understand the everyday nature of ethical practice, including in professional practice among ‘technology for good’ start-ups. The paper identifies inherent paradoxes in the ‘technology for good’ sector as well as ethical gaps related to (1) the sometimes-misplaced assignment of virtuousness to an individual; (2) difficulties in understanding social constraints on ethical action; and (3) the often unaccounted for mismatch between ethical intentions and outcomes in everyday practice, including in professional work associated with an ‘ethical turn’ in technology. These gaps persist even in contexts where ethics are foregrounded as matters of concern. To address the gaps, the paper suggests systemic, rather than individualized, considerations of care and capability applied to innovation settings, in combination with considerations of virtue and consequence. This paper advocates for addressing these challenges holistically in order to generate renewed capacity for change at a systemic level.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
T Technology > T Technology (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2022 13:51
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2022 15:00

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