This project produced a book, Emerging Pervasive Information and Communication Technologies (PICT): Ethical Challenges, Opportunities and Safeguards, edited by Kenneth D. Pimple, Ph.D. See our blog for more on the project and the book.

The project was made possible by the National Science Foundation (grant number SES-0848097), Indiana University's Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics

Concluding Presentation at IU

Securing Emerging Technologies: Medical Devices, Robots, Cars, and More
Tadayoshi (Yoshi) Kohno

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Today's and tomorrow's emerging technologies have the potential to greatly improve the quality of our lives. Without the appropriate checks and balances, however, these emerging technologies also have the potential to compromise our digital (and physical) security and privacy. A key goal of the University of Washington CSE Computer Security Lab is to help us achieve the best of both worlds: The wonderful promises offered by the new technologies without the associated security and privacy risks. Kohno's talk examined several strands of their research, including discoveries of security vulnerabilities in emerging technologies ranging from wireless implantable defibrillators to cars, and their development of defenses to mitigate these vulnerabilities.

Tadayoshi Kohno is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. His research focuses on computer security and privacy, broadly defined. In fact, he believes that almost every topic in computer science can have an exciting security-related twist. Originally trained in applied and theoretical cryptography, his current research thrusts span from secure cyber-physical systems (including wireless medical devices and automobiles) to private cloud computing. Kohno is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, an MIT Technology Review TR-35 Young Innovator Award, and multiple best paper awards. He received his PhD in computer science from the University of California at San Diego.

Financial support for this lecture comes from the New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities program (Office of the Vice Provost for Research) and the Poynter Center's project on Ethical Guidance for Research and Application of Pervasive and Autonomous Information Technology (PAIT), made possible by the National Science Foundation (grant number SES-0848097).

The Workshop, March 3-4, 2010 Cincinnati, Ohio

"Ethical Guidance for Research and Application of Pervasive and Autonomous Information Technology (PAIT)" was held on March 3-4, 2010.

The workshop preceded the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, which began on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at the historical Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The workshop was a culminating event following a year-long process of planning, case development and analysis, and networking among information technology engineers and researchers, ethicists, and other interested persons.

Technologies are being developed today using very small, relatively inexpensive, wireless-enabled computers and autonomous robots that will most likely result in the near-omnipresence of information gathering and processing devices embedded in clothing, appliances, carpets, food packaging, doors and windows, paperback books, and other everyday items to gather data about when and how (and possibly by whom) an item is used. The data can be analyzed, stored, and shared via the Internet. Some of these pervasive technologies will also be autonomous, making decisions on their own about what data to gather and share, which actions to take (sound an alarm, lock a door), and the like.

The potential benefits of pervasive and autonomous information technology (PAIT) are many and varied, sometimes obvious, sometimes obscure, as are the ethical implications of their development and deployment. The history of information technology suggests that long-standing issues including usability, privacy, and security, among others, as well as relatively new phenomena such as ethically blind autonomous systems, are best addressed early enough to become part of the culture of researchers and engineers responsible for identifying needs and designing solutions.

This project will create a firm ethical foundation for this nascent field by convening an international meeting of experts in PAIT, ethicists well versed in practical ethics, and other stakeholders. The meeting will feature discussions of previously-prepared case studies describing actual and anticipated uses of PAIT, invited presentations on key issues, working groups to identify and categorize ethical concerns, and other activities aimed at community-building and formulating ethical principles that will help researchers and designers of such systems recognize and address ethical issues at every stage, from design to deployment to obsolescence. The participants will form the core of a new interdisciplinary subfield of value-centered PAIT which will build on the principles by developing guidelines and conceptual tools to support communication and collaboration among and between researchers, engineers, and ethicists.

For more information, get in touch with Kenneth D. Pimple, Ph.D., PAIT project director.