Ethics and Technology

Information technologies are deeply implicated in the shaping of the contemporary human condition and its social ordering. To some extent, these technologies are ‘micro-politics’ which endorse, in their concepts and designs, moral and political choices affecting our relationships to oneself, to the others and to the world. They are both a social construction and a social constraint.



Four scientific axes structure the research.

The first axis aims to produce social and ethical analysis of information technologies. The information technologies are designed, at their very core, to make possible specific practices and behaviours -- making others impossible. Hence, social and ethical assumptions are necessarily embedded within such systems. Those assumptions are mainly silent and opaque. In line with the `Disclosive Ethics' tradition, the research aims to explore those assumptions embedded into the concept and the design of information technologies in order to make them visible and discussible and therefore to foster the technological debates. The major research fields are : surveillance technologies (biometry, profiling), governance and decision (IA algorithmic governmentality and optimization), healthcare (IA, E-Health and the redistribution of responsibilities between medical staff, technologies and patients), gender (body, gender divide, and technologies)

The second axis seeks to foster collective deliberation around socio-technical systems. The deliberations around socio-technical systems may conveniently be thought as taking place in three main arenas: discussions between users, commercials and engineers designing such systems, negotiations by users, managers and engineers deploying such systems, and deliberations among citizens reflecting upon the social and technical transformations they live. NADI has a significant record in deploying a variety of methods for accompanying collective deliberation about the social and ethical values embedded in technical systems. Many fields of research are explored in this stream: surveillance technologies (smart borders and biometric systems), healthcare (mobile health, human protheses (visually impaired people)), education (biometry for distant assessment), urban collectivity (smartcity).

The third axis explores the impacts socio-technical systems have on human beings, on their social interactions and organizations, and their relationships to the world. This axis aims also to question the discourses and the technological imaginaries for their contribution to the shaping of our realities. The research fields that feed this third axis are: work organization (flexibility and despatialization), sharing and distant economy (trust and consuming), gender balance (technological divide), Information and social media (transparency, fake news, information validity and verification), justice and human judgement (e-justice and robotization), ~ transhumanism and biohacking (body, human conditions ~and technologies).

The fourth axis regards the public awareness and capabilities. It consists of various scientific activities organized in order to foster the public awareness about the ethical issues related to information technologies, as : Media Education Game ``In the shoe of a Algorithm'' - ~Cycle of Lessons for the Belgian Academy of Science, ``Digital technologies : what becomes of our sensitive relationship to the world'' - Cycle of conferences Matins Philo - ``Digital Affects''. The institutionalization of Data ethics Commission in different countries is analysed and regulatory texts (Council of Europe, UNESCO, European Union) in that field are examined.


Key publications

  • Grandjean, N., Loute, A. (2019). Valeurs de l'attention: perspectives éthiques, politiques et épistémologiques. Presses Universitaires du Septentrion.
  • Grosman, J., Reigeluth, T. (2019). Perspectives on algorithmic normativities: engineers, objects, activities. Big Data \& Society, 6(2), 2053951719858742.
  • Henry, J., Boraita, F., and A.-S. Collard (2020). Developing a Critical Robot Literacy for Young People from Conceptual Metaphors Analysis. Proceedings of Frontiers in Education 2020, Uppsala (Sweden), 21-24th, October 2020.
  • Jacques, J., Grosman, J., Collard, A.-S., Ho, Y., Kim, A. \& Jeong, H-S. (2020). In the Shoes of an Algorithm: A Media Education Game to Address Issues Related to Recommendation Algorithms, The Journal of Education, 3(1), p.37-62.
  • Linden, I. (2020). ~Entre rêves et illusions\ldots{}l'Intelligence Artificielle en questions in Revue d'Ethique et de Théologie Morale, 307, 13-27.
  • Lobet-Maris, C., Grandjean, N., De Vos, N., Thiry, F., Pagacz, P., & Pieczynski, S. (2019). Au cœur de la contrainte: quand l'éthique se fait bricolage. Revue française d'éthique appliquée, (1), 72-88.
  • Poullet Y., ed (2020). Vie privée, Liberté d'expression et démocratie dans la société numérique, Cahier du Crids, Larcier, Bruxelles, n°47, 258 p.
  • Poullet, Y., (2020), Ethique et droits de l'homme dans notre société du numérique, Mémoire, Académie royale de Belgique.
  • Rouvroy, A. & Stiegler, B. (2016). The digital regime of truth: from the algorithmic governmentality to a new rule of law. La Deleuziana: Online Journal of Philosophy, 3(1), 6-29.
  • Rouvroy, A. (2018). Mapping as governance in an Age of Autonomic Computing : Technology, Virtuality and Utopia. In. Pol Bargués-Pedreny ; David Chandler ; Elena Simon (eds.), Mapping and Politics in the Digital Age. London : Routledge,.p. 118-140.
  • Rouvroy, A. (2018). Governing Without Norms: Algorithmic Governmentality, Bogdan Wolf (ed.), Lacanian Politics and the impasses of Democracy Today, Special Issue of Psychoanalytical Notebooks of the London Society of the New Lacanian School, 2018, Issue 32, p. 99-104.
  • Vanmeerbeek, P. , Lobet-Maris, C., Grandjean, N. (2016), Petits entretiens de la vie privée: Expérience quotidienne sur le web (Vol. 4). Presses universitaires de Namur.


Key projects

  • INSPEX Integrated Smart Spatial Exploration System (UE-H2020) - (2017 - 2019)
  • IPATCH: Intelligent Piracy Avoidance using Threat detection and Countermeasure Heuristics (H2020) - (2014 - 2017)
  • La gouvernementalité algorithmique: mise en nombre du réel, gouvernementalités contemporaines et nouvelles fabriques du sujet (PRD FNRS) - (2013 - 2017)
  • Pervasive and UseR Focused BiomeTrics BordEr ProjeCT (UE-H2020) - (2016 - 2019).
  • SEAMPAT: Amélioration de la continuité des traitements médicamenteux par le développement d'une plate-forme de réconciliation médicamenteuse favorisant la participation active du patient (RW) - (2014 - 2017)
  • SmartGate (Win2Wal- RW) - (2020 - 2022)
  • TeSLA : An adaptive Trust-Based Assessment System for Learning (UE-H2020) - (2016 - 2018)


Contact: Claire Lobet