Digital Ethnography and AI Ethics with Aparna Ashok

Digital Ethnography and AI Ethics: A Conversation with Aparna Ashok

As part of a series of conversations with experts in Design and Emerging Tech, we recently had a conversation with Aparna Ashok, who has a rather interesting job description of Tech Anthropologist and Service Designer.

Aparna works with social enterprises – organizations that have a social mission but also need to function as a business. Aparna has done her Bachelors in Cultural Anthropology from Luther College (USA) and Masters in Digital Experience Design from Hyper Island.

We begin by asking Aparna about her background in Tech Anthropology and Digital Ethnography.

Aparna explains the difference between Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography, and the relevance of the latter in the design of digital products in context of Design Thinking. She also illustrates where Digital Ethnography is useful.

Next, we go on to ask Aparna about an Ethics framework, which she recently presented at an IxDA event. Aparna shares how she came up with the Human Ethics for Technology framework.

She explains the various considerations for the ethical design framework she developed i.e. Well being, Inclusion, Security, Privacy, Accountability, and Trust.

Aparna mentions the problems of incorporating ethics in a design and development process, and how she is helping teams within companies introduce ethical principles in their designs using an “Ethics Sprint”.

We also ask Aparna about her interest in Ethics + A.I. She shares the growing interest in the in the emerging field of Ethics + A.I in both academic, government, and industry.

Aparna further elaborates on the reasons that have led to the growing imperative for designers to learn about Ethics. She also suggests how designers can leverage data in their designs responsibly.

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Abhay Vohra

About the Author

Abhay Vohra has 17+ years of experience in the IT industry. Abhay started out with us as a Quality Analyst and moved onto the Business Analysis team, where he discovered his passion for Information Architecture, Wireframes, and User Experience. Now, he possesses an impressive experience in UX and has delved into User Research and Service Design. Abhay also happens to be a culture enthusiast and takes a keen interest in world cinema and literature.

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