Over 3000 people from engineering, tech, business, social sciences and humanities have already signed ‘The Copenhagen Letter’ – a manifesto launched at Copenhagen’s Techfestival last month calling for an ethical foundation to be established in technology and design.
The letter calls for a “new Renaissance” in the design of technology to put the human, and not just the “user”, ahead of commercial interests.
Signatories to date include Pirate Bay and Flattr founder Peter Sunde and Kickstarter founder Charles Adler. Its authors say they want to put ‘critical thinking’ back on the agenda in a sector that is functioning in a ‘bubble’.
The Magna Carta for Data Project grew from a desire to make manifest our human commitment to respecting people above technology. The values enshrined in our terrestrial laws and boundaries must be respected at in the digital space too. There’s no single way to approach this – no one constitution or statute book or indeed ‘Magna Carta’ will cover this vast and rapidly evolving realm. One of our approaches is to mirror case law, a bedrock of modern legal systems, by collecting a publishing ethical case studies in the technology field (you can find a number here on this site and we invite submissions from all-comers – see our submission guidelines here).
By contrast, The Copenhagen Letter is a top-down approach that can only help, in concert with many other initiatives, to lay the foundation for a just ‘legal system’ for technology that reflects and respects human values and supports the flourishing of human endeavour in the broadest possible sense.