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Ethically aware IT design for emergency response: from co-design to ELSI co-design

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The latest EU funding framework, ‘Horizon 2020’, has moved consideration of
ethical and societal implications of technology development to the fore. Yet, there
is little guidance on how to do such research in practice, let alone how to innovate
in ethically and socially sound ways. This paper addresses these issues in the
context of a large scale EU funded project developing system of system
innovations in IT supported emergency response. Building on collaborative design
and a range of other approaches, the paper argues that just like ‘usability’, ethics
cannot be invented or decided by experts, but has to be the product of engagement
with the technology by directly or indirectly implicated publics. Facilitating such
publics is a central element of what we call ‘ELSI Co-Design’. The paper outlines
the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of this approach.