It is often said that technological artifacts are morally neutral, that they are bereft of morality save for whatever we might say about their designers and users. Designers and users, being people, tend to be considered the proper and exclusive focus of our moral attention in the designer-technology-user trio, while technological artifacts, mere tools, cannot contribute anything morally. Technological neutrality, a common term for describing this perspective, gives rise to trite statements like, guns don't kill people, people kill people. According to technological neutrality, whatever morality is pinned on the artifact is done so in error. Instead, one must refer to the people surrounding an artifact to get an accurate read on the moral claims that can be associated with its use. Thus, technological neutrality supports a strict kind of delineation between people and things: people can be the subjects of a moral analysis; things cannot.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1109/MTS.2015.2425612
Journal IEEE Technology and Society Magazine
Citation
Millar, J. (2015). Technology as Moral Proxy: Autonomy and Paternalism by Design. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 34(2), 47–55. doi:10.1109/MTS.2015.2425612