Engaging the societal impact of technologies through transdisciplinary inquiry and ethical practices.
Digital Ethics, Society and Policy (Digital-ESP) is a newly established research area in the Department of Computer Science at Aalto University, that I helped found with other faculty colleagues in our department in 2021.
Digital-ESP brings together diverse researchers, scholars and practitioners engaging at the intersection of technology, social science and policy concerns in a societal context. From a Computer Science perspective this is a crucial area for critically interrogating the ethics and values embedded in technology, the interplay with society, and the role of policy-making to better understand and mediate positive or adverse impacts.
Increasingly, contemporary concerns with emerging technologies such as AI, surveillance, cybersecurity, robotics, drones and autonomous systems in society have been much debated. However, issues of gender and racial equity, Global South inclusion, political participation, democracy, protest, civic engagement, crisis, and sustainability in technological contexts, are also critical topics of emphasis for this area.
Digital-ESP is focused on understanding the societal impact of technologies in a transdisciplinary manner (i.e. drawing on research conducted at the intersection of different fields and engaging diverse stakeholders), while proposing critical guidance and policy interventions.