The Future Ethics In Technology Master Workshop

Friday, 20 Sep 2019 @ 09:00 Past Event
The Future Ethics in Technology Master Workshop
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Its time for our industry to take ethics seriously. The Future Ethics in Technology Master Workshop is an intensive one-day workshop on ethics in digital product development and design, run by Cennydd Bowles, a leading designer at the forefront of the tech ethics movement. Learn about the three lenses of contemporary ethics, use them in lively debates about emerging technology, and apply what youve learned through practical, hands-on exercises and games.


The day is divided into three parts; each part introduces important ethical theory, then lets attendees put their new-found knowledge to the test in short debates and exercises. 1. Anticipating harm

The cobra effect · Ethics v morals · The myth of neutral tech · Mediation theory · User-centred designs blindspot · Two new focal points · Externalities · Stakeholder broadening · The proxemic and pace layer models · Unintended consequences · Isnt prediction out of favour? · The need for moral imagination · Design as provocation · The Futures Cone · The designated dissenter · The moral value of diverse teams.

Discussion: How did we get here?

Exercise: Stakeholder broadening.

Exercise: Emerging technology warning labels.

2. Evaluating ethical arguments

Ethical opinion and culture · Different views on the trolley problem · Moral absolutism and relativism · Folk ethics · The is-ought trap · If I dont do it, someone else will · The golden rule · Deontology · Deontology and rights · Two deontological tests · Deontological difficulties · Utilitarianism · A utilitarian test · Utilitarian difficulties · Virtue ethics · Which virtues? · A virtue ethics test · The values spectrum · The golden mean, and the vices of deficiency and excess · Virtue ethics difficulties · What lens works for you? · The veil of ignorance · The social contract.

Discussion: Should robots have rights?

Discussion: Is it ethical to block ads?

Exercise: The values spectrum.

Exercise: Vice/virtue/vice.

3. Ethics in design practice

Ethics in research · The role of metrics · Persuasion in design · Dark patterns · Introducing mutually destructive metrics · A business case for ethics · Beware the business case · Using simple moral language · Collective action · Whistleblowing · Building ethical infrastructure · Core values · Design principles · Ethics in career ladders · An ethical red flag · Ethics or politics? · More ethics anti-patterns · Morality as a muscle · The difficult road ahead.

Discussion: How can ethics increase revenue decrease costs decrease risk?

Discussion: Core values from memory

Discussion: Where do we go from here?

Exercise: Mutually destructive metrics


This workshop is ideal for designers, product managers, and software engineers working within technology teams. All levels of seniority including leadership roles are welcome; all views will be treated as equal within the workshop environment.Attendees will learn

Practical ways to anticipate ethical risks that accompany new technologies.

Tools, games, and approaches for teasing out unintended consequences and identifying externalities that may fall on hidden stakeholders.

A grounded theory for debating and evaluating ethical arguments, helping teams get past gut feel and reach more concrete conclusions.

Knowledge of common pitfalls in ethical reasoning.

How to set incentives and targets that protect users, while also achieving meaningful business objectives.

Strategies and tactics to reposition ethics as not only the heart of new product development but a lasting competitive advantage for their teams.


Brilliant. Just so relevant and thought provoking and practical and a masterclass in facilitation. Left feeling very grateful for the work youve done, and for making it so accessible to us.

The exercises, they were all fantastic. Especially the proxemic & mutually destructive [metrics]: so much from them that I can actually apply. Thank you!

Eye-opening and thought provoking, but also very challenging to see how we might embrace ethics and actualise these things here.

It was BLOODY brilliant! Thank you. Very interesting and engaging.

Great talks, very detailed + good examples to help with understanding. Please go to a design school and do this talk, I would have loved this talk at uni! Thanks :)

I took a lot from today. Found it very valuable. Thank you for your time - great speaker! Best bit: Future Cone (and activity worksheets).


Cennydd Bowles is a London-based designer with fifteen years of experience advising clients including Twitter, Ford, Cisco, and the BBC. His focus today is the ethics of emerging technology. He has been quoted on the topic in The Guardian, Ars Technica, The Daily Telegraph, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Forbes; his new book Future Ethics has been called A must read for anyone who is inventing the future or cares about living in it. Cennydd has presented on the topic at Microsoft, Stanford University, Dropbox, Fitbit, Google, Hulu, Facebook, IBM, and the New York Times.


Lunch is included Located in the city center of Amsterdam Not a 1 hour rushed lecture, but 8 hours in-depth Interaction and personal contact (you will be able to ask questions yourself) Network with like-minded people
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