4TU.Ethics Bi-annual Conference 'Ethics of Disruptive Technologies'

The 4TU.Ethics Bi-annual Conference will take place on the 7th and 8th of November 2019 at the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands.

Throughout history, technology has been a driver of social change. The technologies of the industrial revolution played a crucial role in shaping modern society, and society has since then continued to be shaped by technological innovations. The conference focuses on technologies that will not just change specific domains or practices for which they were designed, but that will change our life in a much broader sense. They are called socially disruptive technologies (SDTs). SDTs transform everyday life, social institutions, cultural practices, and the organisation of the economy, business, and work. They may even affect our fundamental beliefs, rights, and values. Historical examples of such technologies include the printing press, the steam engine, electric lighting, the computer, and the Internet. Modern examples include digital technologies, bio- and brain technologies, and environmental and sustainable technologies.

Few will contest that novel technologies raise ethical questions that require ethical reflection and guidance. But a key problem in the case of SDTs is that these technologies are also challenging the very concepts and values that we normally appeal to in our ethical thinking. That is why normative frameworks are so important: which values and normative principles should guide the development and introduction of SDTs, and which benefits do we want for individuals and society?

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