Ethics in the COVID-19 pandemic: myths, false dilemmas, and moral overload

Georgy Ishmaev, Matthew Dennis, M. Jeroen van den Hoven
2021 Ethics and Information Technology  
1 This editorial essay was originally drafted in the summer of 2020 and wrapped up in autumn of 2020. Nevertheless, due to the publication backlogs with the special issue of "Ethics of Information Technology in the COVID-19 Crisis", this editorial is coming to publication in the Spring 2021. Looking back, we can consider it as a snapshot in time, when certain technological solutions were at the various points in their 'hype' and development cycles. At this point in the pandemic, some of the
more » ... l risks (such as segregation between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals) seemed remote and far-fetched. Fast forward several months, and we find ourselves in a significantly changed technological landscape. This shows that ethical assessment of emerging technologies is no longer an exercise in reflection so dear to traditional philosophy, but is fast-paced research following dramatically shortened lifecycles of technological solutions. Ethicists of technology are becoming less armchair philosophers, and more akin to a scientist studying drosophila flies. Contact-tracing applications are no longer touted as the most promising technological alternative to blanket lockdowns. It is not fair to say that the usefulness of contact-tracing applications has proved to be lacking, rather they are getting more sober assessment as but one of the tools available to us in the fight against COVID-19. At the same time, digital medical certificates are rising at the top of the public spotlight with overly-enthusiastic proposals on digital 'vaccine pass-Publisher's Note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
doi:10.1007/s10676-020-09568-6 pmid:33727889 pmcid:PMC7952813 fatcat:whraxh5singblimwi7y6kukaxe