The Art of Ethics in the Information Society

The Art of Ethics in the Information Society




How do the numerous, and often rather alluring, promises of technology change our perspectives on ethical values? Specialists in the fields of science, art-science, and philosophy of technology share their forward-looking thoughts in this interdisciplinary essay collection. These visions, which provide new perspectives on values in the information society, present a unique view on metaethics and technology.


The contributions in this collection re-approach the ethical values of a reality in which the digital is increasingly merging, mostly invisibly, with the world around us. Technologies are often implemented prior to questioning their ethical consequences. We are all users and makers of the information society; therefore it is key to awaken everyone’s imagination concerning ethics and technology. What are the ethical crossroads? The questions that are asked address this issue from multiple angles in order to show you the complexity of the different ethical choices that lay ahead of us. Central in this collection are your life in this rapidly digitalising world, and the matter of how we can shape the future with outlined choices in mind.


Can you imagine what your future life would look like if we were to continue implementing (new) technologies in our day-to-day lives at this pace? How do, and can, we shape our world through the possibilities offered by technologies? With the world going digital many questions concerning ethics arise: Will we acquire a perfect memory, and what are the consequences thereof? What will our future judicial system look like? Can computers make ethical decisions for us? Will it be normal to have a (sexual) relationship with a robot or with a digital personal assistant? Do we need to protect and conserve our cultural heritage digitally to ensure that time and war will no longer inflict damages? What role can the technologies that enable mixed reality play in end-of-life discussions? Will Big Data be Big Brother? Will the faith that we put in Big Data lead us to a Dystopia or a Utopia?


Knowledge of the future is vital for instigating and inspiring new and creative ideas to improve our lives. To design the ethical fundaments of the information society we need to use a futuristic approach in order to cope with the fast pace of the digital transition. The essayists wish to engage in a personal dialogue about the future with you, both as the user and maker, and it might be a dialogue that is beyond what you can foresee now. This collection can provide you with the knowledge on how you can take part in shaping the digital world. Since the secret to change is to focus all your energy on building the new, they hope to inspire you so that we can start building our future together.


Almost every successful person holds two beliefs: the future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so. In this endeavour, imagination of the ethical crossroads is a powerful tool; it is the source from which creativity springs. Artists can contribute to the reflections about the digital world and precarious technologies, scientists who look beyond the well-known possibilities can show us the challenges we are heading for, and philosophers with an open-minded reflection can awaken you through questions that we need to ask before technologies are implemented.


This collection revolves around you; you are challenged by visual and mental images, questions, and new ideas to reflect on your role during this transitional stage of a world that is moving into a digital era.


Do something today that your FUTURE will thank YOU for,


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Liisa Janssens