Digital Ethics deals with the impact of digital Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on our societies and the environment at large. It covers a wide spectrum of societal and ethical impacts including issues such as data governance, privacy and personal data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), algorithmic decision-making and pervasive technologies. Importantly, it is not only about hardware and software, but it also concerns systems, how people and organizations and society and technology interact. In addition, with Digital Ethics comes the added variable of assessing the ethical implications of artefacts which may not yet exist, or artefacts which may have impacts we cannot predict. The Ethics4EU Project is an Erasmus+ transnational project that explores issues around teaching Digital Ethics in Computer Science. This research report on European Values for Ethics in Technology is the first Intellectual Output of the Ethics4EU project and it is presented in two parts:
- Part 1 used a semi-systematic literature review methodology to discuss and present the origins of Digital Ethics, recent views from EU working groups on Digital Ethics, geographical perceptions of Digital Ethics and a summary overview of pertinent Digital Ethics topics and challenges for an increasingly interconnected ICT world. These topics include data ethics, including data management and practices, AI Ethics including ethical concerns when building AI systems, automated decision making and AI policy, ethics for pervasive computing including topics such as surveillance, privacy and smart technologies, social media ethics including topics such as balancing free speech and access to accurate information and the relationship between Digital Ethics, digital regulations and digital governance with a specific focus on the GDPR legislation.
- Part 2 presents the results of focus groups conducted with three key groups of stakeholders – academics, industry specialists and citizens. The analysis captures their insights with regard to ethical concerns they have about new technologies, the skills or training future computer professionals should have to protect themselves in the online world and who should be responsible for teaching Digital Ethics. We analyse the similarities between the topics uncovered in the literature review and those highlighted by the focus group participants.