The University of Oxford has just launched a new research programme into digital wellbeing. The research will be run by the Digital Ethics Lab (with its natty tagline ‘every bit as good’) at the University’s Oxford Internet Institute, and will focus on the ethics surrounding the impact of digital technologies on human wellbeing.
For example, what are the main risks posed by digital technologies to human wellbeing, and how should we govern the development of technology in light of these risks? And what does wellbeing itself mean, including our ability to flourish and thrive, in a digital society? And how does digital technology change how we value our lives, our achievements, and each other?
These are big questions that move beyond the familiar tropes of digital benefits vs digital hazards. And they are ones that tech companies and digital agencies will need to engage with. All the talk about digital UX (user experience) and CX (customer experience) without understanding the impact on human wellbeing seems trivial, misguided and futile.
The research is being run by key thought leaders and experts in the field of digital and data ethics, Professor Luciano Floridi (The Fourth Revolution – How the infosphere is reshaping human reality), Dr Mariarosaria Taddeo and Dr Christopher Burr.