Technology Impact Cycle Tool

If this category is not applicable for this technology, please select 'Yes'.
Your technology is probably designed to solve a problem. That is why it is important to exactly know which problem you are going to solve. Can you make a crisp and clean definition of the problem? What 'pain' do you want to ease? Whose pain is it? The answers and the definition will help you to determine and discuss if you are really solving the right problem.
In technology there is a tendency to simplify a problem, so that it can be technically solved. Are you sure you are solving the real problem with technology? Are you sure you are not only addressing symptoms? Is 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?)
Your 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?
Technology often bites back. It has the tendency to create negative effects you would not expect because of unpredictable user behaviour. 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?
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 human values and 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 your technology comply? And how about your own set of values? Does the technology comply with what you think is right?
Have you thought about the challenge at hand? The 'pain' you want to solve? Are you sure that you are solving the right problem? Or are you only fighting symptoms? Did you ask WHY often enough? Are you sure your technology is going to solve the problem? Do you expect any negative effects? How are you going to mitigate them? And in what way is your technology contributing to a world you want to live in? The answers on questions 1-5 help you decide if you want to make improvements to your technology. These improvements you can list under question 6

The challenge - people, society, earth

Unesco - Sustainable Development Goals

Side effects of technology

Evgeny Morozov on Solutionism

Ethics and Technology

Ethical Operating System
Omydiar Network
4TU. Center for Ethics and Technology
Poel I.vande & Royakkers, L. (2011) Ethics, Technology and Engineering. Wiley-Balckwell
Philosophy Design Lab Twente
Moralizing technology (TEDx Peter-Paul Verbeek)


Five Whys Technique (to find deeper issues)