As The Open University celebrates its 50th anniversary, Theo Papaionnou, Professor of Politics, Innovation and Development, will deliver his inaugural lecture on the importance of applying social justice principles to the governance of technological and developmental change.
Social Justice has preoccupied political theorists for a very long time. From Plato to Locke and Hume all the way to Rawls, Young and Sen, the idea of justice has been defined as a moral and political standard of how people ought to live and relate to one another within a framework of fair institutions.
Although theories and principles of justice have been applied to govern various social and political actions, technological innovation remains a difficult area for the application of justice. This is not only because of the pace and complexity of emerging technologies but also because of perceptions of value neutrality in the innovation process. Yet innovation is a human action that is guided by both ethical norms and interests and is significant for justice. Emerging technologies create opportunities for promoting justice but at the same time they also pose risks to injustice.
In this lecture, Professor Papaioannou will discuss how social justice in non-ideal or concrete terms can be applied to innovation in an inclusive way, which takes the needs of marginalised populations into account. He will talk about emerging areas such as artificial intelligence and data ownership; and what the idea of justice in innovation means for the developing world.