SD: Ethical challenges with novel welfare technologies
This thesis topic is related to the group’s research on social sustainability. It seeks students interested in exploring how the use of novel technologies in the devilry of welfare services often end up challenging issues such as dignity, privacy, inclusion, and accountability.
The rapid inclusion of new digital devices, ecosystems, and services involving new technology requires designers and researchers to rethink how the end-users’ lives are affected by technology. What are the consequences of introducing specific new technologies into welfare services and examples of prominent challenges concerning ethical issues on personal and societal levels?
New technologies can introduce new ethical challenges
Ethical issues raised by end-users are dynamic in nature and may change on both an individual and societal level. Concerns previously reported (e.g., in the case of older adults) need to be continuously understood and reflected upon as new technology is introduced to ensure that welfare services contribute to both personal and societal concerns, e.g., privacy, trust, and non-stigmatizing design, as well as overarching topics like social equity and justice. What ethical issues end-users report and whether they are bound to specific technologies, users, medical conditions, contexts, or a combination of all, and may likely also vary from service to service. As such, a part of this thesis topic will involve identifying current tensions in close collaboration with end-users (e.g., recipients of welfare services).
Open for different groups of participation
Our work over the past years has involved two main groups of users, i.e., two main groups of welfare services recipients: older adults and people with intellectual disabilities. As such, we have experience working with these two groups of participants in particular. Still, the thesis topic is open to involving other user groups as well if desired by the master student.
Collaboration on lab activities and design workshops
The students who want to work on this topic will collaborate closely with the ongoing research efforts and design lab activities of faculty and Ph.D. students in the research group. We include students in existing or new meetings, workshops, and collaborations with internal and external partners. In addition to lab activities, there will be structured reading groups and prototyping workshops organized by faculty and PhDs affiliated with this thesis topic.
Suited for student groups
This thesis topic is suited for students who want to work as part of a larger group of both faculty, PhDs, and students, and is also interested in having students who will want to write their thesis together. We have very positive experiencing with students working together in parts, or all, of their thesis work, which has proven to be extra helpful in situations involving practical work, e.g., prototyping, fieldwork, and workshops.
This thesis can be written in English or Norwegian.