The future of Horizon Europe depends on thinking beyond the current ethical debates. The VIRT-EU project offers a novel practical ethical framework that challenges technology developers to productively engage the uncertainties that the technologies they create can and will produce. Their tools recognize that power negotiations and value conflicts are inherent in technology development. Such recognition is key not only for technology development but also for policy decisions that will shape Europe's future.
VIRT-EU research found that developers engage with social values from positions like the Idealist, Pragmatist and Disengaged, which indicate how they feel able to act in relation to ethical issues.
Their tools well-considered to challenge these positions and to offer practical and innovative approaches to thinking about different ethical frameworks and how to make them useful. Rather than providing yet-another-checklist, the VIRT-EU tools offer a way for technology developers to gain the necessary language, structure and authority to convene and engage in conversations about ethics.
The VIRT-EU project produced research results that demonstrate how ethical questions can and should be addressed within the technology development process. These results offer a foundation for future action by creating deeply researched and well-considered tool prototypes for self-assessment and for convening conversations about ethics.
The long-term significance of VIRT-EU is grounded in an empirically validated and theoretically grounded approach to changing conversations about ethics with an impact on practices and decision-making processes in technology development. The Service Package presents interactive tools and other resources including an ethics primer, a review of relevant regulations, workshops and educational resources, and an innovative impact assessment questionnaire.
More details about the VIRT-EU products and tools will be available soon in the Cyberwatching Marketplace.