12.03.2007 -

UNESCO publishes survey on ethical implications of emerging technologies

What are the ethical implications of the semantic web, biometrics, radio-frequency identification, location-based services, mesh and ubiquitous networking, grid computing and other new computing technologies? A study just released by UNESCO analyses likely consequences of different technological choices.

The survey entitled "Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies" has ben prepared by Mary Rundle and Chris Conley of the NGO Geneva Net Dialogue at UNESCO's request.

 

In presenting results of this examination, the report first tells an introductory story of how the technologies covered relate to one another. Next, infoethics goals are presented. Then, for each technological trend surveyed, the report contains a short chapter drafted in lay terms to provide an overview of the relevant technology and to highlight ramifications and concerns. The report then summarizes this infoethics analysis and revisits the story of the emerging technologies. Finally, the report offers recommendations on ways to advance infoethics goals in anticipation of these oncoming technologies.

 

The ethical, legal and societal implications of ICTs are one of the three main priorities of UNESCO's Information for All Programme and UNESCO was recently designated as the Facilitator for the implementation of Action Line C10 "Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society" of the Geneva Action Plan adopted by the World Summit on the Information Society.

 

Moreover, UNESCO encourages the definition and adoption of best practices and guidelines addressing ethical issues for decision makers, media and information professionals, and all major stakeholders concerned by the issue of Info-Ethics.

 

It aims at providing an outlook to the ethical implications of future technologies in the area of information and communication as well as at alerting to the increasing power of these emerging technologies and draws attention to their potential to affect the exercise of some basic human rights.

 

This publication will also be available in French in April 2007.

 

IFAP is an intergovernmental programme, created in 2000. Through IFAP, Governments of the world have pledged to harness the new opportunities of the information age to create equitable societies through better access to information. It is a platform for international policy discussions and programme development aiming at narrowing the gap between the information rich and the information poor.

 

Bibliographic reference:

UNESCO. Information for All Programme (IFAP). « Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies: A Survey ». Edited by the Information Society Division, Communication and Information

Sector - Paris: UNESCO, 2007 - 92 p ; 21 cm




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