7. Value Sensitive Design – Readings

Course subject(s) 7. Value Sensitive Design

The readings for the lectures of this set are presented below. The bottom part of this page presents some bonus reading material.

Readings for Applying Value-Sensitive Design

As we have seen in the lectures, VSD is a theoretically grounded approach to the design of technology that accounts for human values in a principled and comprehensive manner throughout the design process. It employs an integrative and iterative tripartite methodology, consisting of conceptual, empirical, and technical investigations. The reading for this section is key for understanding VSD and is titled: Value Sensitive Design and Information Systems by Batya Friedman, Peter H Kahn, Jr and Alan Boring.

  • It explains the above-mentioned investigations and why it should be iterative.
  • It includes practical suggestions for how to engage in VSD.
  • It explains VSD in more detail by drawing on 3 case studies.

Readings for the Case Study: Autonomous Weapons

Robo-Wars: The Regulation of Robotic Weapons by Alex Leveringhaus and Gilles Giac (2014).

This policy paper summarises different types of military robots and outlines the relevant technological features of robotic weapons. It provides an overview of the ongoing debates as to whether the use of robotic weapons is legal and ethical. It then assesses current proposals for the regulation of robotic weapons. Finally, the paper makes recommendations to states, manufacturers and the military on how to develop a suitable regulatory framework for robotic weapons.

Bonus readings: Examples of VSD in action

  1. A case study:
    Applying Value Sensitive Design (VSD) to Wind Turbines and Wind Parks: An Exploration by Ilse Oosterlaken.
  2. Code is Law: an introductory article by Lawrence Lessig, a champion of digital liberties in cyberspace.
    (Trivia: Lessig was the mentor and close friend of the late Aaron Swartz, the Internet hacktivist.)
  3. A consortium of scientists and inventors (including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking) have recently drafted an open letter on research priorities for artificial intelligence (AI). The list of research priorities can be found here: among the stated goals are maximising the benefits from AI while minimising pitfalls that could endanger humans and even humanity.
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