2019-03-06T16:32:13+01:00

A recent article from Kudina and Verbeek1 explores a different strategy to deal with the ‘Collingride dilemma’, a double-bind problem which roughly states that the impacts of new technology cannot easily be anticipated until the technology is developed, but that it hard to change the technology then. While in earlier stages it is easy to change the technology, but then we don’t know yet what it’s impact will be. The authors focus on the ethical variant of this dilemma which states that our value frameworks to evalue the technologies also change because of the technology:

(…) when we develop technologies on the basis of specific value frameworks, we do not know their social implications yet, but once we know these implications, the technologies might have already changed the value frameworks to evaluate these implications (p. 293)

They claim that the technical mediation approach can help with this dilemma by studying at an earlier stage during the technological development how “normative frameworks develop in interaction with technologies”:

It makes visible that the values used to evaluate technologies are not independent from these technologies but rather are co-constituted by them. A better understanding of these dynamic human-value-technology entanglements can substantially contribute to a more responsible design and use of technologies.


  1. Kudina, O., & Verbeek, P.-P. (2019). Ethics from Within: Google Glass, the Collingridge Dilemma, and the Mediated Value of Privacy. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 44(2), 291–314. https://doi.org/10.1177/0162243918793711 ↩︎

Wouter Van Rossem
Wouter Van Rossem

My research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter.