Technology Impact Cycle Tool

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Depending on the technology you are assessing, some categories are more important than others. Here you can indicate 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)

Can you exactly define what the challenge is? What problem (what 'pain') does this technology want to solve? Can you make a clear definition of the problem? What 'pain' does this technology want to ease? Whose pain? Is it really a problem? For who? Will solving the problem make the world better? Are you sure? The problem definition will help you to determine and discuss what problem exactly you are solving and if it is a problem worth solving.

(This question is part of the Quick Scan)

Often there is a tendency to simplify a problem, so that it can be technically solved. Are you sure that the technology is solving the real problem? Are you sure that you are not only addressing the symptoms? Is this technology really the right solution for the problem? Did you try to find the deeper issues? Did you use the five whys technique (see frameworks below?).
Can you describe how the technology is going to solve the problem? 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? Did you research it? Are you going to evaluate the outcomes in the future?
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, often so is technology. Can you think about possible negative effects? Did you brainstorm to try and find such effects? Are there expected negative effects that you accept? If so, can you explain why?
Describe the impact of the technology on the daily lives of people, in the short term and in the long term. Discuss how the technology, 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?

(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 whether this technology will contribute to a world you want to live in. If you think about all that, what improvements would you make? In technology? In context? In use? The answers on questions 1-5 help you to gain insight into the impact of this technology on society. The goal of these answers is not to provide you with a 'go' or ' no go' - decision. The goal is to make you think HOW you can improve the impact of this technology. This can be by making changes to the technology or making changes to the context in which the technology is used, or making changes in the way the technology is used.

(This question is part of the Improvement Scan)

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
Moralizing Technology (TedxTalk by Peter Paul Verbeek)

Books & Papers

Poel I.vande & Royakkers, L. (2011) Ethics, Technology and Engineering. Wiley-Balckwell
Mensvoort, Koert (2013). A paper on the Pyramid of Technology
Mensvoort, Koert. Next Nature. Book on technology and nature
Morozov, Evgeny. To Save Everything Click Here. Book on solutionism
Tenner, Edward. Why Technology Bites Back (1997)


Five Whys Technique (to find deeper issues)
Sustainable Development Goals by Unesco
Ethics for Designers (toolkit by Jet Gispen)
Tarot Cards of Tech
Ethical Tool from Kennisnet (in Dutch)