April 25, 2021

Workshops Build Education and Interest in Red Cross/Red Crescent on Ethics in Technology

“How might we raise tech to the next level of humanitarian accountability in design and development?”

Senior Researcher Dr. Robin Mays led Red Cross Red Crescent (RC/RC) humanitarian practitioners to unpack this question using their experiences working in the field in workshops with support from UW students Yifan Lin and Sabrina Chin. The workshops were held during the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) inaugural Data and Digital Conference, a week-long event attended by 4,000 RC/RC staff and volunteers from over 130 countries, and informs Dr. Mays’ research aimed at aligning information technology development with the ethical humanitarian culture. The research team seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. How are humanitarian ethical imperatives addressed in the development, design, implementation, and use of HICT?
  2. How can an understanding of these HICT interactions be translated into frameworks for successfully achieving more ethically-centered STEM cultures?

Attendees were largely humanitarian practitioners and were introduced to contemporary research on ethical STEM, such as the Wheel of Successful Practice and how it can inform the design and information requirements of socially-ethical technology in practice. They also shared their experiences of working on HICT projects and their successes and challenges in upholding humanitarian accountability. Outcomes from the workshops will be used to inform additional data collection for the research project.