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"We Live on Hope...": Ethical Considerations of Humanitarian Use of Drones in Post-Disaster Nepal


Wang, Ning (2020). "We Live on Hope...": Ethical Considerations of Humanitarian Use of Drones in Post-Disaster Nepal. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 39(3):76-85.

Abstract

The noticeable turn to technology in humanitarian action raises issues related to humanitarianism, sovereignty, as well as equality and access for at-risk populations in disaster zones or remote areas lacking sufficient healthcare services. On a technical level, practical challenges include heightened risks of data safety and security, and the potential malicious use of technology. On a societal level, humanitarian innovation may disrupt relations between different stakeholders, may widen inequality between those with access and those without, and may threaten privacy, disproportionately affecting the vulnerable population. Drawing on the empirical findings of a case study of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, this paper presents an in-depth normative analysis to identify contextualised ethical considerations, and illuminate the wider debate about how technological innovation in the aid sector should be operationalised. In conclusion, on the normative level, a prudent attitude in adopting novel technology in the aid sector is required; while on the operational level, proposals for actionable ethical standards to guide and safeguard sector-wide innovation practices are needed.

Abstract

The noticeable turn to technology in humanitarian action raises issues related to humanitarianism, sovereignty, as well as equality and access for at-risk populations in disaster zones or remote areas lacking sufficient healthcare services. On a technical level, practical challenges include heightened risks of data safety and security, and the potential malicious use of technology. On a societal level, humanitarian innovation may disrupt relations between different stakeholders, may widen inequality between those with access and those without, and may threaten privacy, disproportionately affecting the vulnerable population. Drawing on the empirical findings of a case study of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, this paper presents an in-depth normative analysis to identify contextualised ethical considerations, and illuminate the wider debate about how technological innovation in the aid sector should be operationalised. In conclusion, on the normative level, a prudent attitude in adopting novel technology in the aid sector is required; while on the operational level, proposals for actionable ethical standards to guide and safeguard sector-wide innovation practices are needed.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Engineering, General Social Sciences
Language:English
Date:1 September 2020
Deposited On:30 Sep 2020 10:12
Last Modified:30 Sep 2020 12:43
Publisher:Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ISSN:0278-0097
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1109/mts.2020.3012332

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