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Prof. Dr. Rudolf Müller

School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University / Niederlande

Dr. Tamar Sharon

Philosophy Department, Maastricht University / Niederlande



Digitization, Ethics, and Society: An Integrative Analysis

Our world is increasingly being digitized. Never before have such massive quantities of infor-

mation about people, things, and their interactions been generated, stored and processed.

This promises to have tremendous impacts on fields ranging from climate protection and

resource efficiency to security, finances, citizenship, and health. Difficult questions emerge

around the potential benefits as well as drawbacks of digitization for society. Will large-scale

data collection and analytics help us create better decision-making tools, services, and pub-

lic goods? Or will it usher in a new era of surveillance and invasive marketing? How do we

reconcile human values that are fundamental to civil society, including privacy, transparen-

cy, free choice, justice and self-determination, with the values of efficiency, convenience,

economic growth, and innovation that underpin the methods and models of data-intensive

science and business?

The working group will examine the impact of digitization on individuals and civil society, and

the way that these impacts strain familiar economic and ethical frameworks. We take digiti-

zation to be a socio-technical phenomenon that can only be addressed in a multi-disciplinary

framework, and so we welcome students from a broad range of disciplines. The sessions will

be structured around several concrete disruptive case studies taken from various fields as

well as lectures by experts and plenary group discussions. The participants will deal with the

case studies in subgroups during the course of the entire working group.

Our aim is to develop an integrative, multi-disciplinary analysis of each of these cases, de-

scribing in particular the ethical, economical, and societal disruptions caused by them. At the

end, participants should be equipped with a scientifically sound foundation for political and

scientific discussions about a responsible embedding of digitization in our civil society.


Gesellschaftswissenschaftliches Kolleg VII