Practicing (whose?) values: requirements engineering as a catalyst for technology justice.
Requirements engineering (RE) is a critical site for technology ethics. Technology ethics researchers have long advocated that ethical concerns be central to early design processes, and requirements engineering provides methods and processes for such reflection. RE has already begun exploring ways that social values like privacy, accessibility, and fairness can become technical requirements. Methods have been proposed to support and systematize ethical design. But these methods face steep challenges on the road to widespread adoption. Agile methodologies and technical cultures where ethical deliberation takes a backseat to production make values-oriented design difficult. And even after decades of debate, practitioners of values-oriented design struggle with the fundamental problem of whose values should be built into technologies which are meant to be flexible, interoperable, and global. This talk will suggest that reframing values and ethics as explicitly about justice – considerations of power and historical oppressions – helps solve one challenge (whose values) while making the other (adoption in software engineering communities) potentially more difficult. I will then present two contrasting case studies as tools to think with and potential ways forward. The first is from my qualitative work studying independent mobile application developers. My findings suggest that there are practices already embedded in even the most informal software work which can ease the problem of adoption of ethics and justice-centered requirements engineering. The second is the history of a radically different profession: anthropology. Anthropology is a discipline that has openly grappled with power and its place in the world, and I suggest its history provides lessons for how software engineering might make reflections on power more central to development practice.
Katie Shilton is an associate professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research explores ethics and policy for the design of information technologies. She is the PI of the PERVADE project, a multi-campus collaboration focused on big data research ethics. Other projects include developing privacy-sensitive search for email collections; analyzing ethical cultures in computer security research; and building tools to facilitate ethics discussions in mobile application development. Her work has been supported by a Google Faculty Award and multiple awards from the U.S. National Science Foundation. Katie received a B.A. from Oberlin College, a Master of Library and Information Science from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in Information Studies from UCLA.
Tue 13 AprDisplayed time zone: Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna change
15:30 - 16:30
|Practicing (whose?) values: requirements engineering as a catalyst for technology justice.|
K: Katie Shilton University of Maryland