Mark Surman on Ethics in the Digital World

12. Mai 2017
Name: Mark Surman
Position: Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation
Thema: Ethics in the Digital World

How can we design the path for our socity today towards a more responsible, ethical and social planet?

According to Mark Surman, the Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, a global community which founded Firefox and involves in issues like privacy and net neutrality, we have to decide right now: What ethics do we want in a society that is completly digital? How do we want to work ? What is the balance between our choices as digital citizens and consumers and the choices of people designing our technological and political surrounding?

The way society is handling the technological progress is “very similar to the way, how the western society understood the pollution in the 50s and 60s: It was just not on the mind of people that they were creating an impact that eventually could put us all at risk”, says Surman.

As Society is more and more structured by the internet, it is our task to “look up to it as a common concern”, as a social issue of the same importance as health or education, in order to not just react, but to understand the process of technological and political progess as a “designing process”, as Surman states.

But what does taking action in designing values, guidelines and ethics actually mean?

“Technology does not have values or ethics in it – it is us that build the values and ethics into technology”, says Surman, citing the philosopher Marshall McLuhan: “we shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us!”.

Put into practice, this means that as technology grows in influence, it shapes how our society works, based on the values that we decide to put in our technological systems.

According to Surman, those values should be values like “inclusion, decentralization and openness”. Therefore, the values that we founded the internet on need to continue to be the values we build our digital world on today.

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