Reluctantly, the tech industry has owned up to its deep social, political, and moral impacts. Now the hard work begins. A slew of ethical aids have emerged – toolkits, card decks, playbooks – but the true challenges run deeper, caused by complex human trade-offs, misaligned values, and faulty incentives. Can concerned technologists genuinely shift the moral cultures of high-performing tech firms? Will ethics become a shared industry commitment, or forever remain a mere discussion point?

Cennydd Bowles, author of Future Ethics, explores why nascent ethics initiatives stumble in tech companies, the structural difficulties that lead to unethical decisions, and the questions that most obstruct moral progress: Isn’t the law enough? Does ethics mean slower innovation and less profit? The answers will help illuminate a radical new path that helps ethical advocates to consider hidden stakeholders and harms and that draws on collective power to change entrenched systems.

Primary themes

Unintended consequences, externalities, ethics in the design process, contemporary ethical theory, collective action.


To follow.

References & further reading

To follow.

In person

Offered as a conference keynote or in-house presentation. Previously delivered at Facebook, Microsoft, Hulu, Dropbox, BBC, Financial Times, and dozens of public conferences. Intended audience: designers, product managers, software engineers.

Companion workshop

This talk sits perfectly alongside the one-day masterclass Practical Ethics for Tech Teams. Book both for reduced rates.