Societal and ethical issues of digitization

Ethics and Information Technology 20 (2):127-142 (2018)

Abstract

In this paper we discuss the social and ethical issues that arise as a result of digitization based on six dominant technologies: Internet of Things, robotics, biometrics, persuasive technology, virtual & augmented reality, and digital platforms. We highlight the many developments in the digitizing society that appear to be at odds with six recurring themes revealing from our analysis of the scientific literature on the dominant technologies: privacy, autonomy, security, human dignity, justice, and balance of power. This study shows that the new wave of digitization is putting pressure on these public values. In order to effectively shape the digital society in a socially and ethically responsible way, stakeholders need to have a clear understanding of what such issues might be. Supervision has been developed the most in the areas of privacy and data protection. For other ethical issues concerning digitization such as discrimination, autonomy, human dignity and unequal balance of power, the supervision is not as well organized.

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