Ethical dilemma scenarios and emerging technologies

David Wright, Rachel Finn, Raphael Gellert, Serge Gutwirth, Philip Schütz, Michael Friedewald, Silvia Venier, Emilio Mordini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


This paper posits that ethical dilemma scenarios are a useful instrument to provoke policy makers and other stakeholders, to including industry, in considering the privacy, ethical, social and other implications of new and emerging technologies. It describes a methodology for constructing and deconstructing such scenarios and provides four such scenarios in an orthogonal relationship with each other. The paper describes some different, but closely related scenario construction-deconstruction methodologies, which formed the basis for the methodology adopted in the European Commission-funded PRESCIENT project. The paper makes the point that in ethical dilemma scenarios, it is not immediately apparent what choices policy makers should select. Hence, there is a need for undertaking a privacy and ethical impact assessment and engaging stakeholders in the process to identify and discuss the issues raised in the scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-336
Number of pages12
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Fred Phillips


  • Ethical dilemma scenarios
  • Privacy impact assessment
  • Ethical impact assessment
  • Near field communications
  • Biometric technologies


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