Introducing DiDIY D3.3: Ethical issues and work

The DiDIY deliverable D3.3 , "Ethical issues and work", discusses some of the ethical issues arising from the spread of DiDIY in the context of work. We begin by focusing on lawful forms of DiDIY (at the level of both individuals and groups), and on their potential transformative impact on the work context, with particular attention to the contribution they might make to technological unemployment.

We suggest that DiDIY likely presents a lesser risk in this regard than emerging and disruptive technological developments like machine intelligence and automation (and might even end up having a positive net effect on employment). We then examine the foreseeable impact of forms of DiDIY that would violate intellectual property rights (DiDIY counterfeiting and piracy). Building on a wealth of empirical data, we highlight the ethical issues at stake as a result of the introduction of DiDIY in the work context: these include both potential risks, such as job loss and reduced earnings for some workers, and benefits, in terms of job creation, improving existing jobs, and protecting the environment.

We suggest some measures that might help address the former, including promoting education, particularly in STEM fields (a project that DiDIY itself might facilitate). The deliverable concludes by expressing cautious optimism about the impact of DiDIY on work, and stresses the need to avoid overreacting to any potential risks based on speculative empirical assumptions.