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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

What Are These Materials?

Ethics in Technology Practice is a project developed by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and made possible by a grant from Omidyar Network’s Tech and Society Solutions Lab. The project aims to provide free materials to encourage and support ethics training workshops in technology companies, especially for designers and engineers.

This compendium of materials is designed specifically for practice-oriented ethics training programs within the tech industry. Amid growing interest in ethical decision-making within technology companies, and in the ethical impact on society of what technology companies develop and produce, these materials aim to help prepare engineers and other tech industry professionals to address the multifaceted ethical issues that arise in their work.

The materials include a workshop teaching guide, overviews of technology ethics and relevant conceptual frameworks for ethical decision-making, case studies, an ethical toolkit for integrating consideration of ethics throughout product development, a sample workflow integration of the tools, and a list of best practices in technology design and engineering.

Ethics training programs can take multiple forms, and there is a need for experimentation and information-sharing among tech companies who undertake such programs. We hope that these materials will provide a substantive starting point, but that companies will develop customized materials as well, for maximum internal impact.

All of these materials are made available under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) for noncommercial use with attribution and no derivatives. (During training sessions, please distinguish clearly between these materials and any additional ones developed internally.)

Of course, a one-time training session, no matter how effective, is not enough to cement ethical decision-making into the culture and habits of any organization. However, the training guidance and other materials included in this collection will give companies an excellent way to strengthen the internal conversation about ethics, as well as a substantive set of tools with which to begin the work—including the work of integrating ethical decision-making at key points throughout the workflow.

We are grateful to Omidyar Network for their support for this project, and to the organizations and their employees who have participated in pilot testing of these materials. We also hope to get opportunities for follow-up projects that will deepen the effect and broaden the reach of this initial work. For information on collaborating with us, or for any feedback on these materials, please email ethics@scu.edu.

Jun 19, 2018