The Oxford Internet Institute has today launched the Digital Ethics Lab (“DELab”), which aims to tackle the ethical challenges posed by digital innovation. Ethics deeply affects the development of technology, science, politics, law, business, and, ultimately, every aspect of society. The DELab aims to identify the benefits and enhance the positive opportunities of digital innovation as a force for good, and avoid or mitigate its risks and shortcomings.

Led by Luciano Floridi, the OII’s Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information, the Lab will build on Oxford’s world leading expertise in conceptual design, horizon scanning, foresight analysis, and translational research on ethics, governance, and policy making. Ultimately it aims to help design a better information society: open, pluralistic, tolerant, equitable, and just.

The Lab will develop innovative, foundational studies and offer relevant expertise, thought-leadership, and translational research on a broad range of key areas in digital ethics, including automation, algorithms, artificial intelligence, big data, cyberconflicts, data governance, data science, digital platforms, e-commerce, e-governance, e-health, information quality, Internet of Things, machine learning, personal data, persuasive technologies, privacy, protocols, robotics, security, social media, surveillance, and virtual or augmented reality.

Luciano said: “The ethical challenges posed by digital technologies are becoming pressing everywhere. This is especially true in digital contexts, where transformations are rapid and disruptive, and tend to have profound and widespread ethical consequences, with direct and daily impact on millions of lives. Clearly, ethical mistakes are increasingly costly and visible, and the negative consequences of suboptimal decisions or policies may be hard to reverse, especially when confidence and trust are undermined.”

“But we believe that technology can and must help solve social and environmental problems. We look forward to interacting with interested parties and stakeholders from all sectors and internationally, to identify the ethical opportunities, challenges, and risks presented by the digital world, and to provide independent research, advice, solutions, and strategic options to deal with them successfully.”


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