With great enthusiasm I share this publication for Technology in Society (Elsevier). I propose a roadmap to support the ethical decision making process in moral programming of smart technology. In this contribution I discuss when we have a moral programming issue, who ought to decide on this, what can be decided, and how moral decisions can be programmed in technology. The main goal is to contribute to a smart society that is more human, with respect for individual morality.
Abstract: Smart technology is increasingly integrated in our ethical decision making. This raises questions as to how we should morally program technology. Deciding on moral programming depends on the moral intensity of the ethical issue. A moral intensity dashboard for engineers can help allocate the most suitable moral authority for a particular moral programming. Technology is not capable of ‘doing’ ethics the way humans do. This leaves forms of consequentialism and deontology as the most reasonable programming alternatives, using deontic logic as a starting point. Furthermore, it is very likely that in the more complicated settings, technology should have elements of meta ethics in its moral programming to adequately deal with scenarios that lead to conflicts in moral programming. We propose to use the calculation methods that stem from a comparative approach or the Expected Moral Value approach. All this has considerable consequences in how we should see moral programming in technology-driven ethical decision-making processes. We will therefore propose a roadmap for the moral programming of smart technology.
Keywords: Moral programming, Ethical decision making, Moral Intensity, Smart technology, Normative ethics, Meta ethics
I am more than thrilled to announce the publication of the second edition of ‘Ethiek en economie, een grensoverschrijdende inleiding’ at Noordhoff Publishers. The initial version of 2015 had an English follow up in 2018. Now, the Dutch book is completely revised and updated (2020). The book consists of three parts:
1) ethics and the individual: focussing on morality, responsibility, normative ethics, and moral decision making-processes;
2) ethics and the business: focussing on the triple bottom line and accountability (integrated reporting);
3) ethics and the world: focussing on cultural diversity and globalization.
In all chapters, practical examples can be found that are business oriented. There is also a website with addiotional course materials and weblectures. For more info, click here.
This week we saw the emergence of a major diplomatic conflict between Turkey and the Netherlands. In short, the Dutch government used legal means to ban two Turkish ministers from Dutch territory, preventing them to hold speeches in support of the Erdogan campaign. This campaign is about a referendum that would change the Turkish Constitution, putting –bluntly said- more power in the hands of the Turkish President.
In the media, we see an explosion of articles that are about the ‘lawfulness’ of the Dutch actions and Turkish ministers. However, what I miss in the ‘mainstream’ debate is a very important underling question: ‘can you use democratic means to realize undemocratic results?’ Or, from the opposite perspective: ‘can you use undemocratic means to protect democracy?’
My name is Bart Wernaart, I am a lecturer in law and ethics, and wanted to express my sincere appreciation to you for your profession. Well, that is an understatement: I guess I wanted to say that we need help, and we need you more than ever.
Some doubt the added value of your subject. Some might even suggest to delete history as a subject from school curricula. Amongst them, to my horror, we might even find policy makers. They are fools. I hereby would like to ask you to double your effort in your vital job to teach your subject. Law and ethics are important topics to reflect on our current society, but when people fail to learn from past experiences, my subject is rather meaningless.
Today, fact free politics is increasingly accepted. I guess that the victory of Donald Trump in the American presidential elections is a manifestation of this phenomenon. As we have seen during the fierce campaign, it was hardly about facts but rather about virtues, and perhaps –though less visible- about values. In its core, fact free politics makes some sense. However, completely ignoring facts while taking decisions about something does not. Where should we draw the line?
Depending on the University you visit, some students (including my own) may experience the sheer joy of doing some exams these days. That includes law and ethics exams. Here’s a myth busted, and some tricks.
Recently, the headlines of the news have been dominated by all kinds of remarkable details regarding our politicians. However, they usually are not about the political ideas of the politicians or the party they represent, but rather about funny details and edgy characteristics. For instance, why is it so important that Hillary Clinton’s best friend was in a relation with a pervert? And why does Donald Trump keep emphasizing how successful and rich he is as a businessman? And why is the sexual orientation of the Dutch President more important than his liberal ideas on business? And how come that the news regarding the latest AESEAN summit was dominated by a silly remark of the President of the Philippines on Barack Obama, instead of the more pressing issues such as climate change and North Korea’s latest nuclear tests?
‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun’ is a famous quote of the President of the National Rifle Association (Wayne LaPierre) that embodies the debate on owning weapons in the U.S. Supporters claim that the right to bear arms is a Constitutional right, which even extends to students who should be able to wear a gun while going to college. Opponents claim that this right is the cause for so many school shootings, and want to restrict the free circulation of weapons.
In this blog I do not wish to repeat that discussion or comment on it. Instead, I would like to reflect on the underlying dispute, which is actually about the fundamental meaning of the word ‘freedom’. The ‘right to bear arms’-discussion says it all: should someone have the right to protect her/himself against evil, or should someone have the right to live in a society in which this is not necessary?