The Responsible Technology Playbook (free download) #Technology #Ethics

Thoughtworks has put together a catalog of techniques on being responsible with technology, published as the Responsible Tech Playbook.

The playbook is a free PDF download of about 50 slides, the bulk of which is a summary of a dozen tools and methods that teams can use to better understand responsibilities. Each summary is a couple of slides outlining the basics of the technique: what is it, who created it, when we should use it, how it works, and our perspective on its place in our development efforts.

I’ve long maintained that this places a serious responsibility on our profession. Whether asked to or not, we have a duty to ensure our systems don’t degrade our society. But in the tumult of so many software projects, it can be difficult to step back and understand the implications of our work.

They highlight three techniques that are particularly well-suited as first steps into this collection:

  • Ethical Explorer is a set of cards that use a metaphor of an explorer and risk zones to help a team discuss and understand potential dangers in their product plans.
  • Consequence Scanning is some workshop activities and materials to uncover the unexpected consequences associated with a technology. It encourages teams to uncover these consequences and develop plans to mitigate any problems that they find.
  • Tarot Cards of Tech are cards describing “provocations” such as: how a product could be used in unexpected ways, what users may be excluded, and what might happen if the product is over-used.

The playbook is here and the accompanying article here.


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