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This panel will explore how the expanding use of technology in humanitarian crises raises ethical issues and will discuss ways to address these. Technology can improve the effectiveness of humanitarian responses, but has the potential to have negative impacts. Some case examples will be explored in this panel, including the need to translate information to make it useful for crisis-affected communities. Machine-translation technology can do this more rapidly than human translation. However, this runs the risk of making information available rapidly that has not been checked for accuracy or reliability, and may not be culturally nuanced. Movement towards such technological approaches also raise concerns about humanitarian action becoming depersonalised. Technologies have positive and negative potentials and therefore require careful ethical reflection during all stages of their development and implementation. The panel will discuss various ways this can be done. One approach is to use a participatory action model of research, where active dialogue with affected communities is promoted throughout the development of technologies. Listening to crisis-impacted communities should be valued with humanitarian technology. Another approach is to expand research ethics beyond an approval process to one that promotes and supports ethics in research. Various strategies for this, based on on-going research, will be discussed.
This panel is hosted by: Dónal O'Mathúna (Chair), Matthew Hunt, R2HC, and others