University of Twente Student Theses


Automatic for the people : the effects of smart surroundings on the autonomy of people

Kruijsen, T.T.A. (2008) Automatic for the people : the effects of smart surroundings on the autonomy of people.

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Abstract:Information allows us to make better informed decisions, and thus improves our autonomy. However being given false information may harm our autonomy instead. The second are servant systems, which carry out tasks that people tell them to do. As such they affect the way we can realize our actions. This can happen in a number of ways, by improving our control and options for action. On the other hand servant systems can also diminish our control as we delegate tasks to them, as well as harm our privacy. In this way servant systems can improve our external autonomy, but may also harm it in certain cases. The third type of system is associate systems. These systems analyze people’s desires based on their behavior, and proceed to make these desires effective. I will argue that this operation is problematic, as desires cannot be distilled merely on the basis of behavior. This problem causes associate systems to deceive people who believe their desires are reflected in the system, and gives these people no control over what the system does. Even if an associate system is capable of recognizing people’s desires, they will still make people lose control, and as such be problematic for autonomy. I will wrap this thesis up with a discussion of Smart Surroundings design that takes autonomy into consideration. This is inspired by the program of Value Sensitive Design, which looks for methodologies to incorporate values into the design of technology. I will argue that the design of Smart Surroundings can take the value of autonomy into account, through reliability of systems and responsibility of designers.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
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