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.
Better design strategies
This project fills the gap by developing such a theory. It moves beyond the state 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.
Recent Project News
Prometheus has just published a special issue on Designing for value change, with contributions from different team members as well as others. See here.
During the Machines of Change: Robots, AI and Value Change workshop, to be held from 1-3 February 2022 at Delft University of Technology, we will explore how the deployment of AI and robots leads to value change and how we can study value change, as a phenomenon, via these technologies. You can now register if you are interested in participating. Key note speakers are Arianna Betti, John Danaher and Bertram F. Malle. The full program for this workshop, with all abstracts of the papers presented, is now also available.
Olya Kudina and Ibo van de Poel are inviting contributions to a special issue on The Sociotechnical Systems Approach for Artificial Intelligence for the Journal Minds & Machines. Call for Papers & Description A sociotechnical systems approach is a...