#rp14 speaker: Sarah Spiekermann - The Ethical Machine


Sarah Spiekermann

What does the use of full body scanners tell us about our ethical consciousness? When is the automation of the workplace transformed from a blessing into a curse? How creepy is it when Internet giants like Google or Amazon implement log our histories for “behavioural advertising”? For the longest time we celebrated digital technologies for their huge potentials to unload burdens and emancipate the human. But in the tug-of-war between techno-enthusiasm and digital disenfranchisement, the forces are changing strength. Sara Spiekermann follows these developments and argues for a society in which the use of technology and the desire for privacy can be united.

As a professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, Sarah Spiekermann heads the Institute for Management Information Systems and has been researching social questions on Internet-economics and tech-engineering for over a decade. Her expertise is also called upon by the EU Commission and the OECO when dealing with questions of technology assessments and data protection.

The majority of people, at least in Austria, know Spiekermann as the author of the “Die ethische Maschine” blog. She uses it to discuss her personal experiences in the file tech-paternalism and develops a vision on the future of informatics that is compatible with the ethical framework of humanity. Her questions touch on our expectations of technology, the role of developers and political policy potentials.

While she may be new to re:publica, Sarah Spiekermann is more than familiar with Berlin. She began her academic career at the Humboldt University and worked several years in the HU’s research centre for Internet economics.

Photo: Sarah Spiekermann