Technology Impact Cycle Tool

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Depending on the technology your assessing, some categories are more important than others. Here you can indicatie how important you think this category is for this technology.
If this category is not applicable for this technology, please select 'Yes'.

(Only the gray shaded text is printed on the Quick Scan canvas)

This technology is designed to solve a problem. That is why it is important to exactly define which problem this technology is going to solve. Can you make a clean definition of the problem? What 'pain' does this technology want to ease? Whose pain? The problem definition will help you to determine and discuss if you are solving the right problem.

(This question is part of the Quick Scan)

An example: Griefbot

The purpose of the Griefbot is to reduce suffering for relatives or friends of a deceased person. We believe that - especially with tragic and sudden deaths - there is incredible pain by relatives and friends. The Griefbot is an advanced way of looking at photos or listening to that one voicemail. We believe accepting death is easier if you can have a conversation with your deceased loved one. Furthermore we believe that there a lot of people who never knew their parents or grandparents. The Griefbot partly solves that by enabling a conversation with a deceased parent of grandparent.
In technology there is a tendency to simplify a problem, so that it can be technically solved. Are you sure that this technology is solving the real problem? Are you sure that you are not only addressing symptoms? Is this technology really the right solution for the problem? Did you try to find the deeper issues? Did you consider using the five whys technique (see frameworks below?).

An example: Griefbot

We understand that we can never replace a real life person. However The Griefbot does not strive to do that. The purpose of the Griefbot is to ease suffering. We do understand that sometimes it is better to let go or to talk to relatives or friends instead of to a Griefbot. However we think this are choices to be made by the users. We are just offering an option to ease suffering. We also try to build a community, so that relatives can help each other and find support with one another. This way the Griefbot also fuels more and better human connection. We understand that sometimes suffering is good and helps. However we think a person that is confronted by a tragic death experiences already enough pain. Would you say to someone who lost someone that they should not look at photo's?
this technology is going to solve a problem but do you know how? Can you explain what characteristics lead to the solution of the problem? Are you sure it is going to work? Why? Are you sure it really works? How do you know? Did you test it? Is it grounded in theory? How are you going to evaluate the outcomes?

An example: Griefbot

The quality of the solution is dependent on the quality of the data trail. More data means that the Griefbot will act more like the deceased person. The goal of the Griefbot is to ease suffering. Therefore it is enough that the Griefbot reminds someone of the deceased love one. It does not have to be perfect. We use AI to train the Griefbot to act like the deceased based on the data. We know that this works. We have tested in on a lot of users. Based on feedback we are constantly improving on the AI. Sometimes it makes a mistake, but this is also good. It is important that sometimes users know it is not a real person that they are chatting with. We understand that people behave differently on the internet than in real life. This reflects the Griefbot. However when you talk to the Griefbot, the training continues, so the Griefbot evolves during use. We have a lot of users that tell us that the Griefbot eases the suffering. This makes us very happy and we are constantly alert on improving.
Technology often bites back. It has the tendency to create negative effects you would not expect because of unpredictable user behaviour. People are unpredictable and as a result, so is technology. Can you think about possible negative effects? Did you brainstorm to find effects? Are there negative effects that you accept? And can you explain why?

An example: Griefbot

We are thinking about negative effects all the time. During brainstorm we thought of the following. Maybe some people will get hooked to their Griefbot and have trouble getting back to real life. Maybe some people will get into trouble with their relatives. For example one sister does not want their father to be a Griefbot and the other sister uses it all the time. Maybe the Griefbot will be too good, so the memory of death person will be replaced by an irrealistic digital version. Maybe the Griefbot will be used in heated arguments. Dad would not have approved, look here. Maybe people will think of not being online as really, really egoïstic. Now it is a personal choice not to use social media, but maybe in the future it will be frowned upon, because you are robbing your lost ones of a Griefbot.
Describe the impact of this innovative technology on daily lives of people, on the short term and on the long term. Discuss how the innovation, in a broader sense than solely the problem at hand, impacts society. Does the technology comply with your personal and/or professional values? Does it create a society you want to live in? A lot of professions have their own set of values like codes of conducts and ethical guidelines. Did you check? Does this technology comply? And how about your own set of values? Does the technology comply with what you think is right?

An example: Griefbot

Very much. We like to live in a world where technology enables people to freely make choices. If a loved one dies, we believe it is fantastic that you can choose to have a conversation with a Griefbot. If this helps you, we want to help you. We think death is often random and unfair. We want to live in a world that is a bit more fair and has a bit less suffering. The Griefbot helps with that. If people think a Griefbot is scary, they can choose not to use it.

(Only the gray shaded text is printed on the Improvement Scan canvas)

If you think about the real problem this technology is going to solve. If you think about the ability of this technology to solve the real problem. If you think about possible negative effects and will this technology contribute to a world you want to live in. If you think about all that, what improvements would you make? The answers on questions 1-5 help you to gain insight in the impact of this technology on society. This question (nr 6) is intended to make you think about improvements. What improvements would you (want to) make to this technology, because of the answers to questions 1-5?

(This question is part of the Improvement Scan)

An example: Griefbot

During the brainstorm we learned that people can get hooked to a Griefbot. That is why we now allow users to set restrictions and we give them information on usage - time. During earlier sessions we learned that the Griefbot should only be used by the people very close to the deceased. That is why you can only use it when you know the passwords and have a death certificate. We also learned about our users needing real human connection. That is why we created a community of Griefbot users.
Are you satisfied with the quality of your answers? The depth? The level of insight? Did you have enough knowledge to give good answers? Give an honest assessment of the quality of your answers.

Videos & Clips

Evgeny Morozov on Solutionism
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOvaNzIxz54)
Moralizing Technology (TedxTalk by Peter Paul Verbeek)
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=26&v=S8a1DascnZg&feature=emb_logo)

Books & Papers

Poel I.vande & Royakkers, L. (2011) Ethics, Technology and Engineering. Wiley-Balckwell
(https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Ethics%2C+Technology%2C+and+Engineering%3A+An+Introduction-p-9781444330953)
Mensvoort, Koert (2013). A paper on the Pyramid of Technology
(https://pure.tue.nl/ws/files/3805415/760124.pdf)
Mensvoort, Koert. Next Nature. Book on technology and nature
(https://www.mensvoort.com/home/next-nature-book-2)
Morozov, Evgeny. To Save Everything Click Here. Book on solutionism
(https://www.amazon.com/Save-Everything-Click-Here-Technological/dp/1610393708)
Tenner, Edward. Why Technology Bites Back (1997)
(https://www.bol.com/nl/f/why-things-bite-back-technology-and-the-revenge-of-unintended-consequences/30428782/)

Frameworks

Five Whys Technique (to find deeper issues)
(https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_5W.htm)
Sustainable Development Goals by Unesco
(https://en.unesco.org/sustainabledevelopmentgoals)