Department of Computer Science

Digital Ethics, Society and Policy

Engaging the societal impact of technologies through transdisciplinary inquiry and ethical practices
Digital ethics, symbolic illustration Matti Ahlgren

Digital Ethics, Society and Policy (Digital-ESP) brings together diverse researchers, scholars and practitioners engaging at the intersection of technology, social science and policy concerns in a societal context. From a Computer Science perspective this is a crucial area for critically interrogating the ethics and values embedded in technology, the interplay with society, and the role of policy-making to better understand and mediate positive or adverse impacts.

Increasingly, contemporary concerns with emerging technologies such as AI, surveillance, cybersecurity, robotics, drones and autonomous systems in society have been much debated. However, issues of gender and racial equity, Global South inclusion, political participation, democracy, protest, civic engagement, crisis, and sustainability in technological contexts, are also critical topics of emphasis for this area.

Digital-ESP is focused on understanding the societal impact of technologies in a transdisciplinary manner (i.e. drawing on research conducted at the intersection of different fields and engaging diverse stakeholders), while proposing critical guidance and policy interventions.

Screenshot from a Zoom call with nine participants

‘For many people, it’s always been a crisis’ – a new Aalto collective engages intersecting dimensions of crises

The transdisciplinary Crisis Interrogatives collective critically discusses topics at the intersection of design, technology and socially engaged practices

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Kuva: Matti Ahlgren.

How to achieve digital equality in smart cities

Who we design digital devices and apps for can unintentionally exclude some users, a process referred to as ‘digital inequality’

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Nitin Sawhney standing outdoors with his bike, green grass and trees on the background

Nitin Sawhney receives an Academy of Finland grant for analyzing and reconstructing crisis narratives

Professor Sawhney hopes that his collaborative research will offer insights into how crisis narratives emerge in society during the global pandemic

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A small white and blue robot pictured on display at Aalto's monter at Slush

Will AI make us better humans? Why we must be cautious

It’s not news that digitalisation and AI are transforming how we live, work, consume and behave.

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Marko Nieminen vaakakuva

‘We managed to turn a major risk into a great opportunity’

To make sure the Fusion Grid project could continue, Marko Nieminen travelled to Namibia and drove 1,400 kilometres to transport necessary equipment to the village of Oniipa and make it to KLM’s final flight to Europe

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Johanna Kaipio seisoo ulkona, taustalla ruskan värittämä pihlajapuu ja pensaita.

A 'lifelong interest in coding' is not a requirement for seeking a career in technology

Johanna Kaipio, Professor of Practice, ventured onto the path of technology as a result of an interest in psychology, mathematical subjects and medicine in upper secondary school. Now, as a researcher of health and social care information systems, Kaipio brings these elements together.

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Latest publications

Ecologies of Contestation in Participatory Design

Nitin Sawhney, Anh Ton Tran 2020 16th Participatory Design Conference (PDC 2020)

Te Awa Tupua: Sacred Rivers and Cooperative Urban AI Ecosystems

Nitin Sawhney 2020 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2020)

Cooperative Crisis Response among Emergency Responders & AI Systems

Nitin Sawhney 2019 22nd ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing

Civic Engagement through DIY Urbanism and Collective Networked Action

N. Sawhney, C. de Klerk, S. Malhotra 2015 Planning Practice and Research
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database

Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT (external link)

HIIT is a joint research institute of Aalto University and the University of Helsinki for basic and applied research on information technology.

HIIT

Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence FCAI (external link)

Nation-wide competence center for Artificial Intelligence in Finland.

Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence

Department of Computer Science is part of School of Science in Aalto University.

Research areas

Research areas in the Department of Computer Science

Department of Computer Science
PML Research Group in Department of Computer Science

Department of Computer Science

Modern computer science to foster future science and society.

Artistic depiction of a bright light in space / made by Ray Scipak

School of Science

Science for tomorrow’s technology, innovations and businesses

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