Stephanie Hare joined us on the evening of 27 February 2023 to present the main topics of her book “Technology is not neutral: A Short Guide to Technology Ethics”. In her book, Stephanie Hare addresses some key questions surrounding modern digital technologies: One focus is how developers of technology but also society at large can seek to maximize the benefits of technologies and applications while minimizing their harms. Read our key takeaways from our discussion here.
Some key take-aways from the discussion
Using a philosophical framework, she utilizes several different fields and approaches to ethics and philosophy to call attention to these issues. For instance, metaphysics points out what the problem needs to be solved, while epistemology helps us to ask about the relevant sources of knowledge to address these questions and problems. Political Philosophy, on the other hand, highlights the question of who holds the power to pursue these solutions, while aesthetics highlights how technologies should be designed and displayed. Ethics, finally, gives us answers to the question of what the inherent values are baked into technology.
Throughout the discussion with Alexander v. Janowski and the audience, we addressed crucial observations on the design of technologies which we can make in our everyday world. Examples included how the size of many smartphones is fitted to larger, typically male hands, similarly to how airbags in vehicles have only been tested on mannequins that resemble the average male body. These observations lent credence to the ethical considerations of who and what entities do and should have control over the design and application of technologies.
Overall, Stephanie Hare hopes that her book “hacks humans and human culture.” by contributing to the effort to inspiring people to see the biases and intentional or unintentional inequalities that technologies will take on from their developers if left unscrutinized.
To learn more about Stephanie Hare, the book, and her other works, visit her website at https://www.harebrain.co.