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

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’

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.

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

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.


Aditya Johri

Fulbright-Nokia Distinguished Chair in Information & Communications Technologies 2021-2022, Department of Computer Science, Aalto University

Riikka Koulu

Assistant Professor, Director, University of Helsinki Legal Tech Lab

Salla-Maaria Laaksonen

Adjunct Professor, University Researcher, Center for Consumer Society and Research, University of Helsinki

Aaro Tupasela

Research Fellow, Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki

Latest publications

Sociotechnical Envelopment of Artificial Intelligence: An Approach to Organizational Deployment of Inscrutable Artificial Intelligence Systems

Aleksandre Asatiani, Pekka Malo, Per Rådberg Nagbøl, Esko Penttinen, Tapani Rinta-Kahila, Antti Salovaara 2021 Journal of the Association for Information Systems

Nordic Cities Meet Artificial Intelligence

Aale Luusua, Johanna Ylipulli 2021 C and T 2021 - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Communities and Technologies

Stakeholder-dependent views on biases of human- and machine-based judging systems

Elena Mazurova, Esko Penttinen, Antti Salovaara 2021 Proceedings of the 54th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences

Disruptive online communication: How asymmetric trolling-like response strategies steer conversation off the track

Henna Paakki, Heidi Vepsäläinen, Antti Salovaara 2021 Computer Supported Cooperative Work: CSCW: An International Journal

In Search of the Alternative Future

Johanna Ylipulli, Aale Luusua 2021

Challenges of explaining the behavior of black-box AI systems

Aleksandre Asatiani, Pekka Malo, Per Rådberg Nagbøl, Esko Penttinen, Tapani Rinta-Kahila, Antti Salovaara 2020 MIS Quarterly Executive

Artificial intelligence and risk in design

Aale Luusua, Johanna Ylipulli 2020 DIS 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference

Do Online Trolling Strategies Differ in Political and Interest Forums: Early Results

Henna Paakki, Antti Salovaara, Heidi Vepsäläinen 2020 Disinformation in Open Online Media - 2nd Multidisciplinary International Symposium, MISDOOM 2020, Proceedings

Challenges and Best Practices in Ethical Review of Human and Organizational Factors Studies in Health Technology

Linda W. Peute, Valentina Lichtner, Melissa T. Baysari, Maria Hägglund, Juell Homco, Stephanie Jansen-Kosterink, Ignacio Jauregui, Johanna Kaipio, Craig E. Kuziemsky, Elin Christina Lehnbom, Francisca Leite, Blake Lesselroth, Daniel Luna, Carlos Otero, Rune Pedersen, Sylvia Pelayo, Raquel Santos, Nuno André Silva, Mari Tyllinen, Lex Van Velsen, Wu Yi Zheng, Monique Jaspers, Romaric Marcilly 2020 Yearbook of medical informatics

Ecologies of Contestation in Participatory Design

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


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.

PML research gropu at department of computer science, photo Matti Ahlgren

Research areas

Research areas in the Department of Computer Science

Department of Computer Science
Aerial photo of Computer Science Building at Aalto University campus

Department of 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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