Prof. Edy Portmann
+41 26 300 8468
Digital ethics: an inevitable question
Our world is becoming more and more digital. Due to this and considering the climatic, economic and societal challenges, we need guidelines for ethical behaviour in the digital environment. This research project aims to develop a digital sustainability standard and to introduce it into the societal debate and practice.
Digital services have great potential to help us confront current challenges, but they must not trespass the ecological limits of the planet, nor violate the basic conditions of social justice. The energy resources needed for digital services can increase air pollution and also contribute to climate change. Digitalisation should therefore be limited by global boundaries. According to our vision, it is possible to define ecological ceiling criteria for all kinds of digital services. Digital services, based on algorithms, also run the risk of violating basic conditions of justice and increasing societal unrest. Here too, it is important to define ethical standards.
This research project is planned in three phases. In the first phase, the aim is to develop an overall concept of sustainable digitisation standards using recognised concepts and standards in the field of ethics and to consider how these can be linked to specific algorithms. In a second phase, the goal is to institutionalise the standard for commercial use and evaluation with partners from industry and administration. Finally, the aim is to ensure the implementation of this sustainable digitisation standard, either by creating a recognised label or by promoting exchanges between the political, economic and academic worlds.