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Presentation: If Ethical Technological Innovation is the Challenge, is Science Fiction the Solution?

Carolanne Mahony; Simon Woodworth; Ciara Heavin; Joseph Feller

Presentation for the academic panel for WorldCon 2019.

Many of us are now living our lives in a digitally connected world with nearly ubiquitous access to information and to individuals. We form deep everyday relationships with, and dependencies upon, our technologies. Being digital has transformed how we work, play, engage with one another, and understand and define ourselves. We generate and consume an ever-increasing amount of data,
personal and otherwise, and we continually expand and intensify the domain of technology’s impact. In such a world, Mark Zuckerberg’s motto “move fast and break things,” while inspiring, may not be the ideal approach. Not everything that is easily broken can be as easily fixed.I

n business, education, and society, innovations in areas such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT), continually create both new opportunities and new challenges. This panel is an opportunity to address three key questions: How do we ensure that tomorrow’s technology leaders have both the innovation and ethical decision-making skills they need? How do we ensure that students are cognizant of the wider implications of technological innovation, both positive and negative? How do we cultivate a personal sense of responsibility for managing these implications?

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