Who are we, and how do we relate to each other? Luciano Floridi, one of the leading figures in contemporary philosophy, argues that the explosive developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is changing the answer to these fundamental human questions.
As the boundaries between life online and offline break down, and we become seamlessly connected to each other and surrounded by smart, responsive objects, we are all becoming integrated into an "infosphere". Personas we adopt in social media, for example, feed into our 'real' lives so that we begin to live, as Floridi puts in, "onlife". Following those led by Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud, this metaphysical shift represents nothing less than a fourth revolution.
"Onlife" defines more and more of our daily activity - the way we shop, work, learn, care for our health, entertain ourselves, conduct our relationships; the way we interact with the worlds of law, finance, and politics; even the way we conduct war. In every department of life, ICTs have become environmental forces which are creating and transforming our realities. How can we ensure that we shall reap their benefits? What are the implicit risks? Are our technologies going to enable and empower
us, or constrain us? Floridi argues that we must expand our ecological and ethical approach to cover both natural and man-made realities, putting the 'e' in an environmentalism that can deal successfully with the new challenges posed by our digital technologies and information society.
Luciano Floridi develops an original ethical framework for dealing with the new challenges posed by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). ICTs have profoundly changed many aspects of life, including the nature of entertainment, work, communication, education, health care, industrial production and business, social relations, and conflicts. They have had a radical and widespread impact on our moral lives and on contemporary ethical debates. Privacy,
ownership, freedom of speech, responsibility, technological determinism, the digital divide, and pornography online are only some of the pressing issues that characterise the ethical discourse in the information society. They are the subject of Information Ethics (IE), the new philosophical area of
research that investigates the ethical impact of ICTs on human life and society.
Since the seventies, IE has been a standard topic in many curricula. In recent years, there has been a flourishing of new university courses, international conferences, workshops, professional organizations, specialized periodicals and research centres. However, investigations have so far been largely influenced by professional and technical approaches, addressing mainly legal, social, cultural and technological problems. This book is the first philosophical monograph entirely and exclusively
dedicated to it.
Floridi lays down, for the first time, the conceptual foundations for IE. He does so systematically, by pursuing three goals:
a) a metatheoretical goal: it describes what IE is, its problems, approaches and methods;
b) an introductory goal: it helps the reader to gain a better grasp of the complex and multifarious nature of the various concepts and phenomena related to computer ethics;
c) an analytic goal: it answers several key theoretical questions of great philosophical interest, arising from the investigation of the ethical implications of ICTs.
Although entirely independent of The Philosophy of Information (OUP, 2011), Floridi's previous book, The Ethics of Information complements it as new work on the foundations of the philosophy of information.
What is the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the human condition? In order to address this question, in 2012 the European Commission organized a research project entitled The Onlife Initiative: concept reengineering for rethinking societal concerns in the digital transition. This volume collects the work of the Onlife Initiative. It explores how the development and widespread use of ICTs have a radical impact on the human condition.ICTs are not mere tools but rather social forces that are increasingly affecting our self-conception (who we are), our mutual interactions (how we socialise); our conception of reality (our metaphysics); and our interactions with reality (our agency). In each case, ICTs have a huge ethical, legal, and political significance, yet one with which we have begun to come to terms only recently.The impact exercised by ICTs is due to at least four major transformations: the blurring of the distinction between reality and virtuality; the blurring of the distinction between human, machine and nature; the reversal from information scarcity to information abundance; and the shift from the primacy of stand-alone things, properties, and binary relations, to the primacy of interactions, processes and networks.Such transformations are testing the foundations of our conceptual frameworks. Our current conceptual toolbox is no longer fitted to address new ICT-related challenges. This is not only a problem in itself. It is also a risk, because the lack of a clear understanding of our present time may easily lead to negative projections about the future. The goal of The Manifesto, and of the whole book that contextualises, is therefore that of contributing to the update of our philosophy. It is a constructive goal. The book is meant to be a positive contribution to rethinking the philosophy on which policies are built in a hyperconnected world, so that we may have a better chance of understanding our ICT-related problems and solving them satisfactorily.The Manifesto launches an open debate on the impacts of ICTs on public spaces, politics and societal expectations toward policymaking in the Digital Agenda for Europe's remit. More broadly, it helps start a reflection on the way in which a hyperconnected world calls for rethinking the referential frameworks on which policies are built.
This book presents the latest research on the challenges and solutions affecting the equilibrium between freedom of speech, freedom of information, information security and the right to informational privacy. Given the complexity of the topics addressed, the book shows how old legal and ethical frameworks may need to be not only updated, but also supplemented and complemented by new conceptual solutions. Neither a conservative attitude ("more of the same") nor a revolutionary zeal ("never seen before") is likely to lead to satisfactory solutions. Instead, more reflection and better conceptual design are needed, not least to harmonise different perspectives and legal frameworks internationally. The focus of the book is on how we may reconcile high levels of information security with robust degrees of informational privacy, also in connection with recent challenges presented by phenomena such as "big data" and security scandals, as well as new legislation initiatives, such as those concerning "the right to be forgotten" and the use of personal data in biomedical research. The book seeks to offer analyses and solutions of the new tensions, in order to build a fair, shareable and sustainable balance in this vital area of human interactions.
We live an information-soaked existence - information pours into our lives through television, radio, books, and of course, the Internet. Some say we suffer from 'infoglut'. But what is information? The concept of 'information' is a profound one, rooted in mathematics, central to whole branches of science, yet with implications on every aspect of our everyday lives: DNA provides the information to create us; we learn through the information fed to us; we relate to each other through
information transfer - gossip, lectures, reading. Information is not only a mathematically powerful concept, but its critical role in society raises wider ethical issues: who owns information? Who controls its dissemination? Who has access to information?
Luciano Floridi, a philosopher of information, cuts across many subjects, from a brief look at the mathematical roots of information - its definition and measurement in 'bits'- to its role in genetics (we are information), and its social meaning and value. He ends by considering the ethics of information, including issues of ownership, privacy, and accessibility; copyright and open source.
For those unfamiliar with its precise meaning and wide applicability as a philosophical concept, 'information' may seem a bland or mundane topic. Those who have studied some science or philosophy or sociology will already be aware of its centrality and richness. But for all readers, whether from the humanities or sciences, Floridi gives a fascinating and inspirational introduction to this most fundamental of ideas.
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This volume focuses on the responsibilities of online service providers (OSPs) in contemporary societies. It examines the complexity and global dimensions of the rapidly evolving and serious challenges posed by the exponential development of Internet services and resources. It looks at the major actors - such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo! - and their significant influence on the informational environment and users' interactions within it, as well as the responsibilities and liabilities such influence entails. It discusses the position of OSPs as information gatekeepers and how they have gone from offering connecting and information-sharing services to paying members to providing open, free infrastructure and applications that facilitate digital expression and the communication of information. The book seeks consensus on the principles that should shape OSPs' responsibilities and practices, taking into account business ethics and policies. Finally, it discusses the rights of users and international regulations that are in place or currently lacking.
This book presents cutting edge research on the new ethical challenges posed by biomedical Big Data technologies and practices. `Biomedical Big Data' refers to the analysis of aggregated, very large datasets to improve medical knowledge and clinical care. The book describes the ethical problems posed by aggregation of biomedical datasets and re-use/re-purposing of data, in areas such as privacy, consent, professionalism, power relationships, and ethical governance of Big Data platforms. Approaches and methods are discussed that can be used to address these problems to achieve the appropriate balance between the social goods of biomedical Big Data research and the safety and privacy of individuals. Seventeen original contributions analyse the ethical, social and related policy implications of the analysis and curation of biomedical Big Data, written by leading experts in the areas of biomedical research, medical and technology ethics, privacy, governance and data protection. The book advances our understanding of the ethical conundrums posed by biomedical Big Data, and shows how practitioners and policy-makers can address these issues going forward.
This book offers an overview of the ethical problems posed by Information Warfare, and of the different approaches and methods used to solve them, in order to provide the reader with a better grasp of the ethical conundrums posed by this new form of warfare.The volume is divided into three parts, each comprising four chapters. The first part focuses on issues pertaining to the concept of Information Warfare and the clarifications that need to be made in order to address its ethical implications. The second part collects contributions focusing on Just War Theory and its application to the case of Information Warfare. The third part adopts alternative approaches to Just War Theory for analysing the ethical implications of this phenomenon. Finally, an afterword by Neelie Kroes - Vice President of the European Commission and European Digital Agenda Commissioner - concludes the volume. Her contribution describes the interests and commitments of the European Digital Agenda with respect to research for the development and deployment of robots in various circumstances, including warfare.
This work fulfills the need for a conceptual and technical framework to improve understanding of Information Quality (IQ) and Information Quality standards. The meaning and practical implementation of IQ are addressed, as it is relevant to any field where there is a need to handle data and issues such as accessibility, accuracy, completeness, currency, integrity, reliability, timeliness, usability, the role of metrics and so forth are all a part of Information Quality.In order to support the cross-fertilization of theory and practice, the latest research is presented in this book. The perspectives of experts from beyond the origins of IQ in computer science are included: library and information science practitioners and academics, philosophers of information, of engineering and technology, and of science are all contributors to this volume.The chapters in this volume are based on the work of a collaborative research project involving the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Google and led by Professor Luciano Floridi, University of Oxford.This work will be of interest to anyone handling data, including those from commercial, public, governmental and academic organizations. The expert editors' contributions introduce issues of interest to scientists, database curators and philosophers, even though the issues may be disguised in the language and examples common to a different discipline.
This open access book presents an ethical approach to utilizing personal medical data. It features essays that combine academic argument with practical application of ethical principles. The contributors are experts in ethics and law. They address the challenges in the re-use of medical data of the deceased on a voluntary basis. This pioneering study looks at the many factors involved when individuals and organizations wish to share information for research, policy-making, and humanitarian purposes.
Today, it is easy to donate blood or even organs, but it is virtually impossible to donate one's own medical data. This is seen as ethically unacceptable. Yet, data donation can greatly benefit the welfare of our societies. This collection provides timely interdisciplinary research on biomedical big data. Topics include the ethics of data donation, the legal and regulatory challenges, and the current and future collaborations.
Readers will learn about the ethical and regulatory challenges associated with medical data donations. They will also better understand the special nature of using deceased data for research purposes with regard to ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, and justice. In addition, the contributors identify the key governance issues of such a scheme. The essays also look at what we can learn in terms of best practice from existing medical data schemes.
This book brings together international experts from a wide variety of disciplines, in order to understand the impact that digital technologies have had on our well-being as well as our understanding of what it means to live a life that is good for us. The multidisciplinary perspective that this collection offers demonstrates the breadth and importance of these discussions, and represents a pivotal and state-of-the-art contribution to the ongoing discussion concerning digital well-being. Furthermore, this is the first book that captures the complex set of issues that are implicated by the ongoing development of digital technologies, impacting our well-being either directly or indirectly. By helping to clarify some of the most pertinent issues, this collection clarifies the risks and opportunities associated with deploying digital technologies in various social domains.Chapter 2 is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License via link.springer.com.