Some systems are meant to last for decades...

How do we design them now so that they also meet the values of our (grand)children?

Some systems are meant to last for decades...

How do we design them now so that they also meet the values of our (grand)children?

Some systems are meant to last for decades...

How do we design them now so that they also meet the values of our (grand)children?

Designing for Changing Values

How to Deal with Value Change in Sociotechnical System Design

Not value neutral

A key insight from philosophy of technology is that technological artifacts and sociotechnical systems are not value neutral, but support or inhibit certain values. Several philosophical accounts for understanding the embedding of values in technological artifacts have been proposed and approaches like Value Sensitive Design, Design for Values and Responsible Innovation have been established for integrating values into technical design.

A theoretical blind spot

A blind spot is, however, the possibility of value change after a sociotechnical system has been designed. For example, when many of our current energy and transportation systems were designed sustainability was not yet a central value, and we are now struggling to incorporate this value into these systems. Progress in the field is currently inhibited by the lack of a philosophical theory of value change in sociotechnical systems.

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Better design strategies

This project fills this gap by developing such a theory. It moves beyond the start of the art by proposing a dynamic rather than a static account of values, by developing insights in the dynamics of value change, by extending analysis about the embedding of values in technical artefacts to sociotechnical systems and by developing design strategies that aim at designing sociotechnical systems that can better deal with value change.

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Recent Project News

Vacancy for 3 PhD Students

Delft University of Technology offers three positions for PhD students as part of the research project “Design for Changing Values: A Theory of Value Change in Sociotechnical Systems”. The topics of the three PhD projects are energy systems, artificial intelligence and design strategies. The deadline for application is 12 November 2018.

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ERC Grant for Ibo van de Poel for Research on ‘Design for Changing Values’

The European Research Council has awarded a 2.5 million euro ERC Advanced Grant to philosopher of technology Ibo van de Poel. In the coming five years, he and his team will develop a philosophical theory of value change that can be used to improve the ability of complex socio-technical systems such as gas infrastructure, blockchains, energy grids and self-driving cars to adapt to changing values.

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Set-up of the project

Research Lines

Within our project we pursue six research lines: