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Socio-technical Scenarios for RRI The Case of the SNIFFPHONE Project

Background: SNIFFPHONE Project • SNIFFPHONE • H2020 Research and Innovation Project

• Device detects gastric cancer through unique ‘breathprint’ of cancer biomarkers • Mobile phone add-on device uses sniffing technology • Non-invasive, portable device that allows contact with doctors • Multi-disciplinary consortium: commercial and research; medical and technical; SMEs and large organisations

Practical Challenge • How to integrate RRI into a technical project? – Most partners have little or no knowledge of RRI – Ethical and societal issues are complex and crosscutting – Resources (time, money) are limited

Theoretical Problems • How to avoid idea that positive impacts of project outweigh and overcome complexity and possible resistance? • How to ensure open discussion while also introducing possibilty of addressing ethical issues?

Approach: Socio-technical Scenarios • Develop a number hypothetical scenarios – Scenarios are ‘useful fictions’ – Aim is to encourage construction of technology, not to predict outcomes

• Use scenarios based on similar exercises in related domains • Use four scenarios and have participants analyse them separately, then convene for discussion

Outcomes • Use of scenarios prompted some reflection on ultimate goals of project (e.g. improving quality of life vs ‘curing cancer’) • Prompted reflection on how to include stakeholders in future exercises • Led to discussion of privacy and data-mining issues • Opened discussion of ‘responsible business model’

Other Uses • Socio-technical scenarios are a useful ‘soft intervention’ to provide a first introduction to RRI • Can be used to flag potential issues for other stakeholders to pick up on • Provide an interface between technical, societal and ethical aspects of project • Are concrete and practically oriented • Similar methods could be used in teaching ethics and societal issues to give a more practically oriented approach to teaching these subjects

RRI in industry - the SNIFFPHONE project  
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