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Call for Participation
Ethical Guidance for Research and Application of
Pervasive and Autonomous Information Technology (PAIT)
March 3-4, 2010, Cincinnati, Ohio
Made possible by the National Science Foundation (grant number SES-0848097), Indiana University's Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics
This two-day workshop will convene an international meeting of experts in PAIT, ethicists well versed in practical ethics, and other stakeholders.
Rationale. Technologies are being developed today using very small, relatively inexpensive, wireless-enabled computers and autonomous robots that will most likely result in the near-omnipresence of information gathering and processing devices embedded in clothing, appliances, carpets, food packaging, doors and windows, paperback books, and other everyday items to gather data about when and how (and possibly by whom) an item is used. The data can be analyzed, stored, and shared via the Internet. Some of these pervasive technologies will also be autonomous, making decisions on their own about what data to gather and share, which actions to take (sound an alarm, lock a door), and the like.
The potential benefits of pervasive and autonomous information technology (PAIT) are many and varied, sometimes obvious, sometimes obscure, as are the ethical implications of their development and deployment. The history of information technology suggests that long-standing issues including usability, privacy, and security, among others, as well as relatively new phenomena such as ethically blind autonomous systems, are best addressed early enough to become part of the culture of researchers and engineers responsible for identifying needs and designing solutions.
Key Areas. The PAIT Workshop Planning Committee has initially identified the following key areas for discussion:
1. health and wellness (health monitoring, elder care, nagware)
2. everyday life (GIS, cell phones, PAIT in the home and car and on the body)
3. situations of limited human autonomy (in hospitals, the justice system, schools, the workplace)
4. autonomous systems and robots
(see more details on the link)