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Design Ethics

The seminar went into more detail about the ethical dimanics of technology in relation to man and made us reflect on how design is intrinsic to these interactions.


Technosphere→ Not just as a collection of tools or machines, but a complex system involving techniques, processes, and organizational structures. Technology also encompasses the ways in which humans interact with and were shaped by these artifacts Jaques Ellul, The Technological Society

two ways of conceptualizing technology:

  1. technological neutrality→ related to the usage not the ethical meaning behind a tech product, it depends of the human intentions. Situated action→ how the human actions are always situated in social contexts so technologies are embedded

TechnoFeminism is a book by academic sociologist Judy Wajcmanwhich reframes the relationship between gender and technologies, and presents a feminist reading of the woman-machine relationship. It argues against a technocratic ideology, posing instead a thesis of society and technology being mutually constitutive. She supports this with examples of feminist history related to reproductive technologies and automation. It is considered a key contributor to the rise of feminist technoscience as a field.

neutral→ means the effect on the world for a particular intentionality.

Latour: technologies have political and social implications embedded within their design and usage. According to Actor-Network Theory (ANT), both humans and non-human entities (such as technologies) are actors in a network, and their interactions shape outcomes.

somebody holding a gun is hybrid→ gunman

so tehcnologies are NOT just tools that we passivly use, they are activly shape and structure the society

  1. Technological determinism→ term conied in 20s by Veblen, determinism= The doctrine that all events, including human action, are ultimately determined by causes regarded as external to the will. (progress is unstoppable) “main engine of social change”,


Why is technological neutrality a bad idea? Because it overlooks the significant ways in which technologies influence human relationships and societal organization.

techonology as complex system of artifacts techniques and approces


clear moral dimension

incorporate technologies mediating role

“Ethics should be approached as a matter of human-technological associations.” Peter-Paul Verbeek, Moralizing Technology


enbodiment relation→ a technology as a part of human body

Hermeneutic relation→ hermeneutic as interpretation

the way the perceived the world throught a technology

Alterity relation→ interacting with the technology as it is another living entity (ex.atm)

background relations→ the technology is not changing your perception, it stays there without interactions but is changeing the environment.


Technologies are multistable

jevon’s paradox, occurs when technological progress increases the efficiency with which a resource is used (reducing the amount necessary for any one use), but the falling cost of use induces increases in demand enough that resource use is increased, rather than reduced

technologies responds to social forces

the normative dimension of design

normative→ involving prescribing norms and standards (explicit and implicit)

design→ IS NORMATIVE, concerned with how things OUGHT to be

nudge→ to push slightly or gently, specifically with an elbow when doing so literally, in order to get someone’s attention or to prod someone along.

Ethics is about discerning how we should live and what it means to live a good life.

1- Deontology, starts with the commandments,  an ethical theory that uses rules to distinguish right from wrong

2- Consequentialism, ethics of effects

3- Virtue ethics, perspective focused on character,

4- Care ethics, actions of care to those that are vulnerable or needs support (care as a transformative force)

carol ghilligan→ inventor of care ethics,

1 gen, be in contact with other feelings in order to understand what to do

2 gen, tronto, introducing democracy concept, no democracy without caring,

Gilligan and Held break with the traditional focus on abstract principles, universal norms, or individual autonomy to argue for the centrality of the interpersonal relationships Tronto adds the political and social spheres. Care as a central aspect of human life, essential for both individual well-being and the functioning of democratic societies. Puig de la Bellacasa extends the framework beyond human relationships to include the more-than-human world, intertwining care ethics with ecological and feminist concerns.


5- Sumak kawsay, Quechua for good living, alternative for the wester conception, comunitarian prospective, wellbeing of the community,

Gudynas: buen vivir is equally influenced by indigenous world views as by western critiques of capitalism (esp feminist thought and environmentalism). “It certainly doesn’t require a return to some sort of indigenous, pre-Colombian past.”

Choosing a technological artifact: HEALTH APPLE APP

with Carmen and Drishya


This seminar was of great interest to me as many of my projects, even in my previous studies, are related to care. My vision of design and planning is never detached from the ethics and adventures surrounding this historical period; that is, for me, designing means taking into consideration the context in which one finds oneself and designing for it (or in the case of the master’s degree, designing for an emerging future). In fact, I think the project I am doing for the master’s degree is intrinsic to ethical issues related to technology as I am literally questioning the role of technology in the issue of gender violence and the dynamics of encounters between bodies. I am exploring, in a transhumanist dynamic what are the possibilities of wearing technologies such as sensors that can read and evaluate body language in order to generate a kind of collective consciousness on the issue. In my research process, I found it very difficult to understand the reasons why this topic is still so topical despite the immense technological progress that surrounds us: I came to the conclusion that technologies allow us to connect everywhere, to make us see, but we have preferred to hide what we do not like to see, or we have seen it so many times that it does not leave us. We have lost empathy in situations that do not affect us personally.

Last update: June 16, 2024