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The Digital Ethics Compass

We are all aware of the big technology companies collecting uncanny amounts of personal data, using cunning algorithms to manipulate our brains, and hiring skilled brain researchers to make users addicted to digital products. These are scary stories, but they can also seem abstract and distant to ordinary digital designers and product developers who are not exactly working for Facebook, Google, or Amazon.

But in fact, all of these stories start with a reasonably ordinary designer who makes design decisions. They want to design the best possible solution, but one should never overlook or forget that digital solutions can have unintended consequences.

The Danish Design Centre has gathered ethics experts, leading designers, and small and medium-sized businesses within fin-, mobility- and health tech to develop a tool that helps companies discover, articulate, and act upon ethical dilemmas for existing and future digital products. Namely, the Digital Ethics Compass.

The Digital Ethics Compass has two functions:

1. An ethical checklist: It functions as ethical design patterns with concrete recommendations and examples on creating ethical digital products. It helps you ask the right ethical questions, ensuring that you do not make the most common design mistakes.

2. An ethical workshop tool: It helps companies build more ethical and responsible products by guiding you through a workshop. In the workshop, companies locate any ethical problems with their digital products or services and find new and more ethical design solutions to these.

The Digital Ethics Compass is funded by The Danish Industry Foundation and developed in close collaboration with digital strategist Peter Svarre.

The final Ethics Compass will be launched by the end of 2021.

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