Ethical principles made practical

SHERPA is assessing the potential of standardising good practices or quality criteria to ensure ethics and human rights in Smart Information Systems.

The Dutch Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations recently published a toolbox for ethical responsible innovation. The toolbox includes many references to practical guidelines on how to implement innovation in an ethically responsible way.

This toolbox is mostly targeted at innovations in the public sphere. It is intended to support developers to innovate ethically responsibly. However private parties might benefit from this resource too.

Ethics is trust

Innovation can be delayed or even fail when society does not accept it. This is why it is important to seriously take ethics into consideration while working on an innovation.

Practical principles

The toolbox for ethically responsible innovation follows seven principles:

  • quality of data/algorithms and analysis,
  • public values,
  • stakeholder involvement,
  • security,
  • respecting law and regulations,
  • monitoring and evaluation,
  • transparency and accountability

However, these principles do not remain abstract concepts but are supported by a myriad of practical instruments and guidelines with which these principles can be put into practice. One example of a tool for putting principles into practice can be found under “public values:” the European standard CWA 17145-2 Ethics assessment for research and innovation – Part 2:Ethical impact assessment framework (SATORI).

CWA 17145-2

CWA 17145-2 provides guidance when conducting an ethical impact assessment of a research or innovation project. From the initial idea of the project to the finalization, ethics will have a key role in the project. Depending on the expected ethical impact of the innovation, measures are taken to prevent or mitigate negative impacts.

This standard has been developed by the EU funded H2020 project SATORI. It can be downloaded via the CEN website.

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