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We have unprecedented power today. It's time for designers to pave the way for ethical decision-making in tech.
- Katherine M. Zhou

Better Tech

On May 21, we met at Studio in Malmö, Sweden, to learn hands-on tools for building responsible tech, understand how to create products aligned with people's values, and discuss digital ethics.

The learnings from the day they can be summarised as follows:

  1. To make the discussion tangible, let's reframe digital ethics as risk assessment.
  2. Use existing tools for forecasting consequences of your decisions.
  3. There are frameworks for including all this in your processes, make it your daily bread!

Dive deeper into the learnings

Speakers

It was absurdly inspirational, and we are humbled by the marvelous attendees and fabulous speakers that made Mind the Gaps '19 happen. Infinite thanks to you all.

Following people took the stage:

Ethical Tech - A Psychologist's Perspective | Alexander Steinhart (ThoughtWorks)

Let's come to the same level of understanding. We'll focus on the issues of the past years, what has been done so far, and practical ethics 101.

Alexander Steinhart, Product Strategist at ThoughtWorks

Alexander Steinhart lives and works in Berlin and has a unique background in psychology as well as technology. He co-founded the post-tech startup ( OFFTIME ) (exit), one of the first initiatives in the field of digital well-being and technology that protects our minds, which solutions are adopted now by Apple, Google, and the likes. Currently, he serves ThoughtWorks as a consultant to deliver technology to address their clients' toughest challenges, while seeking to revolutionize the IT industry and create positive social change. His special interest is in putting humans in the loop again and realigning technology with humanity's best interests.

Let's come to the same level of understanding. We'll focus on the issues of the past years, what has been done so far, and practical ethics 101.

Alexander Steinhart, Product Strategist at ThoughtWorks

Alexander Steinhart lives and works in Berlin and has a unique background in psychology as well as technology. He co-founded the post-tech startup ( OFFTIME ) (exit), one of the first initiatives in the field of digital well-being and technology that protects our minds, which solutions are adopted now by Apple, Google, and the likes. Currently, he serves ThoughtWorks as a consultant to deliver technology to address their clients' toughest challenges, while seeking to revolutionize the IT industry and create positive social change. His special interest is in putting humans in the loop again and realigning technology with humanity's best interests.

Designing Ethically | Katherine Zhou (IBM)

We’ve heard it again and again: the tech industry desperately needs an ethical reinvention. Join Kat Zhou, the creator of <Design Ethically> and product designer at IBM, as she explores how we can integrate ethics into our practice. This is a dive into how we can reimagine a new design process that prioritizes choosing the right problems, forecasting for harmful consequences, and monitoring products to ensure they stay on track.

In this talk, we will discuss how to apply an “intent/results” paradigm to design, what constitutes as ethical or not, and what designers can do to pave the way for ethics in tech. Kat will also share her takeaways from introducing ethical design to teams at and outside of IBM. As designers, we’re in a powerful position to lead the ethical tech movement because our craft is grounded in human-centered insights. And the time to lead is now.

Katherine Zhou, Product Designer at IBM

Kat Zhou is a product designer at IBM Security and the creator of the <Design Ethically> project, which explores how product teams can implement ethical practices in their day-to-day process. She currently collaborates with IBM's Artificial Intelligence Design team to pilot methodology with product teams at IBM. Her hobbies include creating podcast artwork for Hi-Phi Nation, volunteering with Front Steps, and teaching first graders design thinking.

We’ve heard it again and again: the tech industry desperately needs an ethical reinvention. Join Kat Zhou, the creator of <Design Ethically> and product designer at IBM, as she explores how we can integrate ethics into our practice. This is a dive into how we can reimagine a new design process that prioritizes choosing the right problems, forecasting for harmful consequences, and monitoring products to ensure they stay on track.

In this talk, we will discuss how to apply an “intent/results” paradigm to design, what constitutes as ethical or not, and what designers can do to pave the way for ethics in tech. Kat will also share her takeaways from introducing ethical design to teams at and outside of IBM. As designers, we’re in a powerful position to lead the ethical tech movement because our craft is grounded in human-centered insights. And the time to lead is now.

Katherine Zhou, Product Designer at IBM

Kat Zhou is a product designer at IBM Security and the creator of the <Design Ethically> project, which explores how product teams can implement ethical practices in their day-to-day process. She currently collaborates with IBM's Artificial Intelligence Design team to pilot methodology with product teams at IBM. Her hobbies include creating podcast artwork for Hi-Phi Nation, volunteering with Front Steps, and teaching first graders design thinking.

Against Design Ethics: Why Your Feel-Good Team Exercises Won't Stop the Fall of Democracy Due to Tech | Joe Edelman

Human Systems teaches an approach centered around human values. Let's look at survey and data methods, redesigning systems to support people's values, and metrics at scale.

You will learn how to advocate for values-based group processes, social systems, and designs. You'll learn to fight for what's right. You will be introduced to tactics to get buy-in — both inside and outside of organizations — for the systems that humanity needs to face global challenges.

Joe Edelman, Designer, Philosopher; Teacher at Human Systems

I'm a philosopher, social scientist, and designer. I believe the current political moment demands a change in the way human systems (social networks, political systems, organizations) are designed; and making this change means having a clearer understanding of people (and of how they live and cooperate).

I work on questions like "how people sort out what's important to them" or "how a person's choices are shaped by the array of social games at hand."

Human Systems teaches an approach centered around human values. Let's look at survey and data methods, redesigning systems to support people's values, and metrics at scale.

You will learn how to advocate for values-based group processes, social systems, and designs. You'll learn to fight for what's right. You will be introduced to tactics to get buy-in — both inside and outside of organizations — for the systems that humanity needs to face global challenges.

Joe Edelman, Designer, Philosopher; Teacher at Human Systems

I'm a philosopher, social scientist, and designer. I believe the current political moment demands a change in the way human systems (social networks, political systems, organizations) are designed; and making this change means having a clearer understanding of people (and of how they live and cooperate).

I work on questions like "how people sort out what's important to them" or "how a person's choices are shaped by the array of social games at hand."

Backing Ethics with Research | Annelie Berner (CIID)

Technology has a far-reaching impact on our lives: As much as it offers potential for us to improve our social, environmental, and economic conditions, it also has the power to impact those areas negatively. How could we empower and support developers and designers to engage in ethical reflection to prevent such scenarios?

VIRT-EU aims to foster ethical thinking and develop actionable tools to encourage reflection on the relationship between technological innovation and societal concerns. Annelie Berner, Interaction Design Researcher at CIID, will introduce you to the tools VIRT-EU is developing, from ethical frameworks, to processes and tools, to speculative design.

Annelie Berner, Interaction Design Researcher & Project Lead at CIID

Annelie creates and teaches and speaks about experimental interaction design, ethics and data, futurescaping and data visualization. Currently, she works and teaches as an Interaction Design Researcher at CIID.

Technology has a far-reaching impact on our lives: As much as it offers potential for us to improve our social, environmental, and economic conditions, it also has the power to impact those areas negatively. How could we empower and support developers and designers to engage in ethical reflection to prevent such scenarios?

VIRT-EU aims to foster ethical thinking and develop actionable tools to encourage reflection on the relationship between technological innovation and societal concerns. Annelie Berner, Interaction Design Researcher at CIID, will introduce you to the tools VIRT-EU is developing, from ethical frameworks, to processes and tools, to speculative design.

Annelie Berner, Interaction Design Researcher & Project Lead at CIID

Annelie creates and teaches and speaks about experimental interaction design, ethics and data, futurescaping and data visualization. Currently, she works and teaches as an Interaction Design Researcher at CIID.

Human Systems: Value-Centered Design | Nathan Vanderpool

You will understand the concepts and vocabulary to use when analyzing your own, and others’, personal values. You will learn to speak plainly about your own personal values and the values of others. You will come to understand when, where, and how you decided to be the way you are. For many people this means confronting unsettling questions. It can be tough. It’s worth it.

Nathan Vanderpool, Philosopher, Sociologist, Game Creator; Teacher at Human Systems

You will understand the concepts and vocabulary to use when analyzing your own, and others’, personal values. You will learn to speak plainly about your own personal values and the values of others. You will come to understand when, where, and how you decided to be the way you are. For many people this means confronting unsettling questions. It can be tough. It’s worth it.

Nathan Vanderpool, Philosopher, Sociologist, Game Creator; Teacher at Human Systems

What's Next

We'll be releasing some of the videos and summaries of the talks in the coming weeks, together with deeper dives into the existing tools and frameworks.

Join our Slack, follow us on Medium or on social media. Tell us your thoughts, what you're struggling with at your work, what you'd like to see more of - interviews, deep dives into tools, workshops, you name it.

In the meantime, check out all the pictures from '19: