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Prometheus
Volume 37 Issue 4 December 2021

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Editorial
By Steven Umbrello, Steffen Steinert and Tristan Emile de Wildt Prometheus has grown four years older since its last and highly controversial special issue, published in 2017 on the Shaken Baby Debate. But, as always, Prometheus is committed to open discussion and dissemination of scientific research, regardless of the potential backlash or controversy that may ensue from such a venture, a venture that is at the core of authentic scholarship. Since the beginning of 2020, the world has changed irrevocably, making once-held norms seem obsolete in favour of new ways of being in the world and new technologies emerging to face these new ways of living. Although it has been a long-held insight in the philosophy of technology that technical systems are carriers of values, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has made manifest how these values, and their incarnations in sociotechnical systems, can likewise change. Prometheus has, since its inception, danced in tandem with the critical interpretations, theories, and methods for understanding innovation, and how innovations fundamentally impact and are impacted by the world in which they emerge and are situated. For this reason, Steffen Steinert, Tristan de Wildt, and I chose to guest edit this special issue on designing for value change and chose Prometheus as its home. page: 5-6 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 38, Issue 1 SKU: 380101
Paper
By Ibo van de Poel The possibility of value change has implications for how to responsibly develop and deploy new technologies. If values can, and do, change after technologies have been developed and designed, this would seem to have major ramifications for approaches such as value-sensitive design and responsible innovation. This contribution explores descriptive as well as normative accounts of value change. It suggests three methodological principles that descriptive accounts of value change should meet. Normative accounts are relatively independent of descriptive accounts and raise the important question of whether normative or moral values themselves can also change. Through the example of the birth control pill and its (alleged) effect on sexual morality, the article illustrates what descriptive and normative accounts might look like in a concrete case. It closes with a discussion of implications for responsibly developing new technologies and draws some conclusions for more theoretical work on value change. page: 7-24 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 38, Issue 1 SKU: 380102
Paper
By Tristan Emile de Wildt and Vanessa Jine Schweizer This article aims to explore the use of cross-impact balances (CIB) to identify scenarios of value change. The possibility of value change has received little attention in the literature on value-sensitive design (VSD). Examples of value change include the emergence of new values and changes in the relative importance of values. Value change could lead to a mismatch between values embedded in technology and the way they are currently considered in society. Such a mismatch could result in a lack of acceptability of technologies, increasing social tensions and injustices. However, methods to study value change in the VSD literature are rare. CIB is a scenario tool that can study systems characterized by feedback loops that are hard to describe mathematically. This is often the case when aiming to define values and their relationships. We demonstrate the use of CIB to identify scenarios of value change using two cases: digital voice assistants and gene drive organisms. Our findings show that CIB is helpful in building scenarios of value change, even in instances where the operationalization of values is complex. CIB also helps us to understand the mechanisms of value change and evaluate when such mechanisms occur. Finally, we find that CIB is particularly useful for social learning and explanatory modelling. CIB can therefore contribute to the design of value-sensitive technologies. page: 25-44 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 38, Issue 1 SKU: 380103
Paper
By Taylor Stone This article investigates questions of ‘designing for value change’ via a ubiquitous, yet often taken-for-granted, technology – streetlights. Smart city trends are spurring a new generation of streetlights, with lampposts being fitted with sensors, cameras and a host of other technologies aimed at monitoring and data collection. This has raised concerns about privacy, surveillance and power relations, arguably creating a changing value landscape for streetlights. However, the article will argue that, while smart streetlights may seem to instantiate a moment of value change, they in fact represent a continuity of values fundamental to the very foundations of public lighting. They embody a set of values – and value tensions – that can be traced back to the origins of modern public lighting in the seventeeth–eighteenth centuries. Moreover, urban nights occupy a liminal space at the boundaries of social order, which likewise informs streetlights’ technical functions and symbolic meanings. Appreciating this continuity of values (and value tensions) is necessary for analysing the potential impacts of new innovations, as well as the value landscape that will inevitably shape their design and use. In adopting a historical perspective on a specific case study, as well as proposing the notion of value continuity, the article offers generalizable insights, as well as future research directions, for the theory and practice of designing for value change. page: 45-56 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 38, Issue 1 SKU: 380104
Paper
By Orsolya Friedrich, Selin Gerlek, Johanna Seifert and Sebastian Schleidgen An essential component of human–machine interaction (HMI) is the information exchanged between humans and machines to achieve specific effects in the world or in the interacting machines and/or humans. However, such information exchange in HMI may also shape the beliefs, norms and values of involved humans. Thus, ultimately, it may shape not only individual values, but also societal ones. This article describes some lines of development in HMI, where significant value changes are already emerging. For this purpose, we introduce the general notion of eValuation, which serves as a starting point for elaborating three specific forms of value change, namely deValuation, reValuation and xValuation. We explain these along with examples of self-tracking practices and the use of social robots. page: 57-66 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 38, Issue 1 SKU: 380105
Paper
By Bas de Boer, Carla Strasser and Sander Mulder Medicine is increasingly focusing on the prevention of diseases. The digital twin (DT) is considered to be an important technological development for realizing this transition. Broadly speaking, a DT is an in silico representation of an individual that dynamically reflects molecular and physiological status, which makes it possible to monitor precisely health status over time. Currently, DTs are more of an abstract ideal than a concrete technological reality, which makes it possible to actively imagine the different ways in which DTs might materialize. This article develops an approach to imagining the different ways in which DTs can be integrated into the lives of people. It focuses on how potential users want to be cared for by means of DTs and how care practices might be changed through the introduction of DTs. The article shows that a shift towards preventive medicine is taking place and situates DT in this context. Then, drawing on the insights of Gilbert Simondon, it suggests that the notion of technical milieu can be a helpful tool for designers to imagine the practices of valuing to which DTs give rise. Subsequently, it explains how our philosophical approach helps inform what kinds of DTs can be imagined. Then, based on interviews with people likely to relate to DTs in the (near) future, it develops six conceptions of DTs and fleshes out some of the implications of our approach for the design of DTs. page: 67-81 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 38, Issue 1 SKU: 380106
Paper
By Benjamin Hofbauer This article brings a new perspective to the ethical debate on geoengineering through stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI), incorporating the emerging techno-moral change scholarship into the discussion surrounding sustainability. The techno-moral change approach can help us understand different ways in which technology might shape society. First, it helps highlight how values and norms are interrelated. Second, it shows that techno-moral change can happen even if the technology is in no way realized. Through the introduction of two techno-moral vignettes, two diametrically opposed ways in which SAI forces us to rethink sustainability and our relationship with nature are suggested. SAI could lead to a situation of entrenchment, wherein sustainability as a norm is undermined, or transformation where the necessity of acting according to sustainability is highlighted. page: 82-97 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 38, Issue 1 SKU: 380107
Paper
By Tom Coggins Housework is hard work. Keeping our homes clean, tidy and comfortable takes effort and every moment we spend on housework (that we would prefer to avoid) means we have less time to devote to our private lives. Over the past two decades, numerous companies have created robots designed to relieve their owners of housework. Having robots take care of housework for us, it seems, would enable us to focus our energy at home on private pursuits we find valuable, such as spending quality time with our loved ones, recreation, and relaxation. Although this line of reasoning helps explain why domestic robots are in high demand, this article will contest its validity throughout. By drawing from historical accounts of older, ostensibly labour-saving domestic technologies, it will argue that we should expect domestic robots to alter the nature of housework rather than reduce the need for it. Overall, it will argue that domestic robots change what needs to be done for their owners to enjoy their private lives. page: 98-112 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 38, Issue 1 SKU: 380108
Paper
By Jeroen Hopster The co-shaping of technology and values is a topic of increasing interest among philosophers of technology. Part of this interest pertains to anticipating future value change, or what Danaher (2021) calls the investigation of ‘axiological futurism’. However, this investigation faces a challenge: ‘axiological possibility space’ is vast, and we currently lack a clear account of how this space should be demarcated. It stands to reason that speculations about how values might change over time should exclude farfetched possibilities and be restricted to possibilities that can be dubbed realistic. But what does this realism criterion entail? This article introduces the notion of ‘realistic possibilities’ as a key conceptual advancement to the study of axiological futurism and offers suggestions as to how realistic possibilities of future value change might be identified. Additionally, two slight modifications to the approach of axiological futurism are proposed. First, axiological futurism can benefit from a more thoroughly historicized understanding of moral change. Secondly, when employed in service of normative aims, the axiological futurist should pay specific attention to identifying realistic possibilities that come with substantial normative risks. page: 113-123 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 38, Issue 1 SKU: 380109
Paper
By Lavinia Marin and Steffen Steinert

Technology should be aligned with our values. We make the case that attempts to align emerging technologies with our values should reflect critically on these values. Critical thinking seems like a natural starting point for the critical assessment of our values. However, extant conceptualizations of critical thinking carve out no space for the critical scrutiny of values. We will argue that we need critical thinking that focuses on values instead of taking them as unexamined starting points. In order to play a crucial role in helping to align values and technology, critical thinking needs to be modified and refocused on values. Here, we outline what value-centred critical thinking could look like.

page: 124-140 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 38, Issue 1 SKU: 380110