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How to Not Destroy the World - the Ethics of Web Design

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Every decision we make is one made on behalf of your user. How do we know the decisions we make are the right ones? It is time we initiate a conversation: About where we are and where we want to go, about how we define and measure goodness and rightness in the digital realm, about responsibility, about decisions and consequences, about building something bigger than our own apps. It is time we talk about the ethics of web design. This talk introduces a method for ethical decision making in web design and tech. Rather than a wet moralistic blanket covering the fires of creativity, ethics can be the hearth that makes our creative fires burn brighter without burning down the house.

Presented at WordCamp Europe 2018: https://2018.europe.wordcamp.org/session/the-ethics-of-web-design/

Publicado en: Tecnología
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How to Not Destroy the World - the Ethics of Web Design

  1. 1. How to Not Destroy the World The Ethics of Web Design by Morten Rand-Hendriksen Presented at WordCamp Europe 2018
  2. 2. Hey Morten, you seem depressed. Want me to cheer you up?
  3. 3. QWhat if your device could diagnose the emergence of clinical depression?
  4. 4. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/20/fitbit-is-going-after-sleep- apnea-to-expand-beyond-fitness-tracking.html
  5. 5. https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/27/facebook-ai-suicide-prevention/
  6. 6. https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/17/17344250/google- x-selfish-ledger-video-data-privacy
  7. 7. – Nick Foster, Selfish Ledger video “As cycles of collection and comparison extend, it may be possible to develop a species-level understanding of complex issues such as depression, health, and poverty.”
  8. 8. – Nick Foster, Selfish Ledger video “As cycles of collection and comparison extend, it may be possible to develop a species-level understanding of complex issues such as depression, health, and poverty.”
  9. 9. This feels wrong, but I can’t articulate exactly why…
  10. 10. Yeah… I thought we were making world peace. I just want to build cool things on the internet.
  11. 11. I think that’s what they call “ethics.” How do I know if what I’m doing is the right thing to do?
  12. 12. How do we judge if what we do is good or bad, right or wrong?
  13. 13. From the Greek ethos, meaning “character” or “custom”. : rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad. ethics
  14. 14. From the Latin mores, meaning “customs”. : concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behavior. morals
  15. 15. Ethics are the science of morals, morals are the practice of ethics.
  16. 16. : rules of behavior based on ideas about what design is morally good and bad. : tools to help make and explain moral judgements about design decisions. design ethics
  17. 17. QWhat if your device could diagnose the emergence of clinical depression? AI have some questions we need to discuss…
  18. 18. How What Why Efficient cause Who Final cause Formal cause Material cause
  19. 19. Who do we become by doing this? Why are we doing this? How do we uphold our Duty of Care? What are the consequences? How What Why Who
  20. 20. What are the consequences? 1.
  21. 21. https://www.strava.com/heatmap#7.00/-120.90000/38.36000/hot/all
  22. 22. : the doctrine that the morality of an action is to be judged solely by its consequences. consequentialism
  23. 23. : the doctrine that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority. utilitarianism
  24. 24. The rightness of an act is judged by how well it promotes happiness. The greatest happiness for the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct.
  25. 25. 80/20
  26. 26. Design for the majority. Who defines this majority? What about everyone else?
  27. 27. How consequentialism is supposed to work: Good thing we planned for those eventualities.
  28. 28. In hindsight, it’s obvious we’d run into some issues. How decisions end up being made:
  29. 29. GDPR tl;dr: You had your chance to do this right, but you messed up so now we’re going to regulate your playground.
  30. 30. 1.• What are the consequences? • Does this improve the common good of those affected? • How do we measure utility? • Who decides which users matter
 and why?
  31. 31. How do we uphold our Duty of Care? 2.
  32. 32. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/07/new-artificial-intelligence-can-tell-whether-youre-gay-or-straight-from-a-photograph
  33. 33. : the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on rules. duty ethics
  34. 34. “Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.” categorical imperative
  35. 35. : Act in the same way you’d want every other person to act in the same situation. categorical imperative
  36. 36. The rightness of an act is judged by whether it is done out of duty to the principle of following moral rules.
  37. 37. Do the right thing because and you believe it is your duty to your action sets a precedence
  38. 38. Duty of Care tl;dr: You are responsible not only for what you put into the world, but what that does to the world and its people.
  39. 39. The Guardian
  40. 40. 2.• What norms are established? • What duties of care do we have, and how do we uphold them? • Should every other person or company in this position to do the same?
  41. 41. Who do we become by doing this? 3.
  42. 42. “The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand. This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.” Tim Cook, Apple CEO, February 16, 2016
  43. 43. : the normative ethical position that emphasizes an individual's character. virtue ethics
  44. 44. An action is right if it is the same as the action of someone who has virtue. Yes, this is infuriatingly circular.
  45. 45. Model Behavior
  46. 46. Act as someone who holds the virtues you yourself aspire to. Fake it till you become it
  47. 47. • Courage • Temperance • Truthfulness • Modesty • Intelligence • Logic • Good sense • Theoretical wisdom • Practical wisdom (Some of) Aristotle’s Virtues • Honesty • Self-Control • Humility • Justice • Courage • Empathy • Care • Civility • Flexibility • Perspective • Magnanimity • Technomoral Wisdom Vallor’s Technomoral Virtues
  48. 48. • A designer is first and foremost a human being. • A designer is responsible for the work they put into the world. • A designer values impact over form. • A designer owes the people who hire them not just their labor, but their counsel. • A designer welcomes criticism. • A designer strives to know their audience. • A designer does not believe in edge cases. • A designer is part of a professional community. • A designer welcomes a diverse and competitive field. • A designer takes time for self- reflection. A Designer’s Code of Ethics by Mike Monteiro
  49. 49. GPL tl;dr: I believe all people should be able to use this software and create from it whatever they want, so I’ll build that in as a requirement.
  50. 50. “To me, and the rest of the Confrere team, accessibility is simply the right thing to do  — morally.” Ida Aalen, Chief Product Officer at confrere.com
  51. 51. 3.• What person / company do we become by doing this? • What behaviors are we modeling 
 for others and for ourselves? • What virtues do we believe and promote?
  52. 52. 4.Why are we doing this?
  53. 53. “Why is not about making money. That’s a result. Why is a purpose, cause, or belief. It’s the very reason your organization exists.” Simon Sinek
  54. 54. Asking “why” is a way of clarifying your desire to shape the world to your vision. Me, in this talk
  55. 55. : theoretical framework that entails two core normative claims: 1. The freedom to achieve well-being is of primary moral importance, 2. that freedom to achieve well-being is to be understood in terms of people's capabilities, that is, their real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value. capability approach
  56. 56. An action is right if it grants or enables those acted upon capabilities in the form of real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value.
  57. 57. Beyond User-centered Design we should embrace Capability-centered Design.
  58. 58. Every design decision we make carves a path our users will follow into our shared future.
  59. 59. Fake news Radicalization Click baitAdvertising Echo chambersTracking The Tracks We Built:
  60. 60. - Saint Bernard of Clairvaux  “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” - George Santayana
  61. 61. “Move fast and break things.” Give everyone the capability to do and be what they have reason to value.
  62. 62. “As the creators of applications and the data flows they create, we can play a critical and positive role in protecting our users from attacks on their privacy, their dignity, and even their safety.” Heather Burns for Smashing Magazine
  63. 63. 4.• What capabilities are we granting and enabling for the end-user? • Do these capabilities allow them the freedom to achieve well-being? • What future are we building?
  64. 64. WHY WHO HOW WHAT Evaluate an existing decision Evaluate a new idea Evaluate an existing decision
  65. 65. With every design decision we build the future for our users and ourselves.
  66. 66. With every design decision we build the future for our users and ourselves.
  67. 67. “The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there. - Robert M. Pirsig

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