https://www.dagstuhl.de/19291

July 14 – 19 , 2019, Dagstuhl Seminar 19291

Values in Computing

Organizers

Christoph Becker (University of Toronto, CA)
Gregor Engels (Universität Paderborn, DE)
Andrew Feenberg (Simon Fraser University – Burnaby, CA)
Maria Angela Ferrario (Lancaster University, GB)
Geraldine Fitzpatrick (TU Wien, AT)

For support, please contact

Annette Beyer for administrative matters

Shida Kunz for scientific matters

Documents

Dagstuhl Seminar Schedule (Upload here)

(Use seminar number and access code to log in)

Motivation

“Values are the facts of the future" (Feenberg, A., 2010)

As we watch digital technology unleashing its power on personal, social, and organizational aspects of human life, we also witness its embroilment in software scandals and questionably ‘smart’ micro- targeting practices of people’s emotions and deeply held values at an unprecedented scale. The organizers of this seminar argue that the time is up for shifting the focus from understanding how digital technologies can change people’s lives and behavior to a better understanding how such technologies ‘behave’, whether by design or by use and ‘appropriation’.

This seminar stems from the need to look into approaches and methods to empirically and systematically study the values underpinning computing research, education, and industry. The overarching goal is to support the next generation of computing professionals with the deliberative and critical skills necessary to tell what values are worth pursuing in computing research, education, and industry from those that are potentially harmful to self and society.

Values are deeply held principles guiding decisions of individuals, groups, and organizations. Computing technologies are inevitably affected by values. However, some aspects often referred to as ‘values’, such as the financial value of a software product, are more easily quantified during decision making processes than others, such as the impact that a technology may have on equality in society. As a result, less measurable values are often dismissed during decision making processes as lacking evidence.

Yet, research shows that these values tend to be more strongly associated with responsible and sustainable practices than more commonly quantified ones. This is particularly problematic since it indicates that the systems we design are likely to be inadequate for tackling complex societal challenges such as environmental change, demographic shifts, and health-related issues that so often computing technologies are asked to address.

This seminar aims to unpack the complex relations between values, computing technologies and society. It does so by bringing together practitioners and researchers from several areas within and beyond computer science, including human computer interaction, software engineering, computer ethics, moral philosophy, philosophy of technology, investigative data science, and critical data studies.

We plan to examine concrete case studies through diverse disciplinary perspectives relevant to the study of values in computing research, development, and education. The Seminar aims to create two types of outcomes: a research agenda to be included in the Dagstuhl Report; and a jointly designed 'Values in Computing' teaching module, to be piloted across a selection of participating universities.

License
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE
  Christoph Becker, Gregor Engels, Andrew Feenberg, Maria Angela Ferrario, and Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Classification

  • Society / Human-computer Interaction
  • Software Engineering

Keywords

  • Computing in society
  • Responsible innovation
  • Sustainability informatics
  • Computer ethics
  • Philosophy of technology and moral philosophy.

Book exhibition

Books from the participants of the current Seminar 

Book exhibition in the library, ground floor, during the seminar week.

Documentation

In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.

 

Download overview leaflet (PDF).

Publications

Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.

Dagstuhl's Impact

Please inform us when a publication was published as a result from your seminar. These publications are listed in the category Dagstuhl's Impact and are presented on a special shelf on the ground floor of the library.

NSF young researcher support