Articles  |  ,   |  October 23, 2020

Conceptualizing Policy in Value Sensitive Design: A Machine Ethics Approach

Book chapter by Steven Umbrello.
Published in Machine Law, Ethics, and Morality in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.


The value sensitive design (VSD) approach to designing emerging technologies for human values is taken as the object of study in this chapter. VSD has traditionally been conceptualized as another type of technology or instrumentally as a tool. The various parts of VSD’s principled approach would then aim to discern the various policy requirements that any given technological artifact under consideration would implicate. Yet, little to no consideration has been given to how laws, policies, and social norms engage within VSD practices, similarly, how the interactive nature of the VSD approach can, in turn, influence those directives. This is exacerbated when considering machine ethics policy that has global consequences outside their development spheres. This chapter begins with the VSD approach and aims to determine how policies come to influence how values can be managed within VSD practices. It shows that the interactional nature of VSD permits and encourages existing policies to be integrated early on and throughout the design process.