Ethical by design
This article was originally published in Waterloo Stories.
We have an intimate relationship with technology. It is infused in our daily life, from our home and car to our finances and health care. As we welcome new technologies into our most personal spaces, there is a growing recognition that design-based thinking needs to consider ethics and the users it serves.
“Technology developers on average want to do the right thing, but often feel like ethics is someone else’s job,” says Jennifer Boger, director of Waterloo’s Intelligent Technologies for Wellness and Independent Living lab. This is a sentiment she is trying to change with her new manifesto, Ethical by Design.
Boger and her collaborators want to empower creators of technologies and systems to better-consider the ethics of what they are building, at every stage of the development process. The manifesto proposes a set of principles acting as signposts for developers to consider, discuss and support in the technology they are designing.
“The potential to help is immense,” says Boger, who also teaches the biomedical engineering ethics course, a core course for all undergraduate biomedical engineers at Waterloo.
“The framework seems to resonate the most with industry right now. This may be because, while there are other initiatives out there, there is a gap for something that is readily available and can guide development day-to-day,” she says.
But it’s not just industry who is paying attention to this ethics framework. The manifesto also sparked interest from academics, government and NGO’s, including the World Health Organization. This past May, Boger was invited to the UN’s AI for Good Summit to participate in a panel and lead a workshop on the ethical by design concept.
“It’s not just for computer scientists, engineers or philosophers, it’s for all people and sectors engaging in creating tech or systems,” Boger explains. “I want anyone working in development to be able to pick up the framework and understand how the principles apply to them.”
Applications for the Concept $5K Grant close on Monday
A message from Concept Imagined by Velocity.
Applications for the Concept $5K Grant close on Monday, October 21. Previously known as the Velocity Fund $5K, the Concept $5K Grant provides funding in a way that is impactful to students by incorporating pitch experience into its funding program. Students are eligible to apply to pitch an early-stage startup idea to qualify for a chance to win one of four $5,000 grants.
The top applicants that submit a written application will be invited to make a 3-minute pitch in front of a panel of judges at one of the Concept $5K Semi-Finals on November 5 and 6. All teams will get helpful feedback on their idea, and the top 10 teams from the Concept $5K Semi-Finals will move on to pitch at the Concept $5K Finals on November 20 to compete for a share of $20,000.
Take Our Kids to Work Day coming up on November 6
A message from Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment.
Calling all employees with children in Grade 9: The University of Waterloo is pleased to announce our participation in The Learning Partnership’s national Take Our Kids to Work day on Wednesday, November 6.
Waterloo is a diverse workplace and a variety of workshops and hands on opportunities are scheduled for grade 9 students. We hope you’ll take part by bringing your Grade 9 student to work with you on November 6th. If you’re planning to participate please register.
Please note this is an event for grade 9 children of University of Waterloo staff, faculty, and students. If you are interested in learning more about the University of Waterloo please join us for the Fall Open House on Saturday, November 2.
For additional information please contact Alexis Condotta, email@example.com.
Please register by Tuesday, November 5.
High-risk and community flu vaccination clinics coming soon
A message from Campus Wellness.
With cold and flu season coming up, you might be wondering whether or not to get a flu vaccination this year. The answer is yes! Campus Wellness is providing a community flu clinic this November to help make it easy and convenient to get your flu vaccine and help stop the spread of influenza.
The community flu clinics are running on the following dates and times:
- November 12, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the SLC multi-purpose room.
- November 13, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the SLC multi-purpose room.
- November 14, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the SLC multi-purpose room.
Even healthy, young people should get the vaccine, to avoid missing work or school, but also to avoid spreading influenza to people who might not have well developed immune, which could include any babies, older relatives, or people with medical conditions who could develop serious complications from the flu.
People in high-risk categories are strongly encouraged to get the influenza vaccine. Campus Wellness will also be running an earlier clinic at their Health Services location for people in the high-risk categories starting Monday, October 21. For more information about the dates and times, see the event listing.
Getting vaccinated can be an effective way to maintain your health through cold and flu season. By avoiding the flu, you save time and energy for more important things like work, attending class, or visiting family members who might be at a high-risk for flu complications.
All University of Waterloo community members (students, staff, and faculty) can get their influenza vaccination at one of the flu clinics. If you can’t make it to one of the flu clinics, you can make an appointment at Health Services after the clinics, or visit one of the many pharmacies in town that offer flu shots.
For more information visit the Region of Waterloo Public Health website.
Presidential Soap sells out; Convocation lunches and other tasty tidbits
If you were waiting to pick up a bar of President Hamdul-lather's Natural Handcrafted Soap, the bubble has popped: the Office of the President has announced via Twitter that the cache of bars has sold out, in the process raising $1,375 for the University of Waterloo's United Way Campaign.
The University Club will be hosting Convocation lunches on Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. "October has arrived, bringing beautiful bursts of colour, wonderful warm fall flavours and the joy of new beginnings," says a note from the Club. "Whether you are graduating yourself or the graduate is someone you care about the UC will help you celebrate with these special luncheons created by our talented chefs. Please reserve early as space fills quickly." Call ext. 33801 to reserve space.
Shine on: The annual University of Waterloo Gem and Mineral Show will be taking place next week on Friday, October 25 from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday, October 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free to the show, which will be located in the Earth Sciences Museum and will feature gems, minerals, fossils and jewellery. Visitors to the show on Saturday can also take in the 2019 Science Open House, which features hands-on science discovery activities for kids of all ages. The open house takes place in the Science Teaching Complex (STC) and EIT.