Thursday, March 6, 2014

What is Pervasive ICT?

I wrote this description of PICT for the 3 (!) events in which I participated at the 2014 annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. - Ken

Pervasive information and communication technology (PICT) is similar to ubiquitous computing (or ubicomp), pervasive computing, everyware, and ambient intelligence (AmI); it includes many different concrete artifacts, including sensors, tablets, and smartphones. Three characteristics distinguish PICT:
  • It is, or could be, anywhere and everywhere – buildings, billboards, floors, restrooms, purses, pockets, coffee makers, pacemakers, eyeglasses, and the kitchen sink. 
  • It detects, collects, organizes, acts upon, and transmits information, often wirelessly on the Internet. 
  • Its presence and operation is often undetected by casual users, whether hidden physically (e.g., computer chips embedded in automobiles) or functionally. Functional invisibility occurs when a function or use of the technology is not announced (e.g., tracking online behavior), announced in a cryptic fashion (as in most terms of use), or becomes ambient through a process of familiarization, such as when smartphones become as ordinary as wallets and Facebook becomes a way of life. 
Ethical challenges posed by PICT are new and emerging, as are the technologies themselves. Our panels will be exercises in anticipatory ethics – “ethical analysis aimed at influencing the development of new technologies.”[1]

[1] Johnson, Deborah G. 2010. The role of ethics in science and engineering. Trends in Biotechnology 28(12): 589–590.

Ken Pimple, PAIT Project Director

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Bioethics and Information Technology" - new section in the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics

I learned recently that the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics is inaugurating a new section on bioethics and information technology.  Below I've pasted the text from a memo distributed by the journal. - Ken

Dear Colleagues,

It is now widely agreed that the future of the health professions is computational. That is, intelligent machines and other devices are becoming essential to practice and research in medicine, nursing, public health, etc. These technologies raise many interesting and important ethical, legal and social issues.

This memo is to announce that the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, a leading international bioethics journal, will this year launch a special section on "Bioethics and Information Technology." This section will feature original work on ethical, legal, policy and social aspects of the use of computing and information technology in health, biomedical research and the health professions. It is the goal of this section to apply CQ’s traditional standards of quality to this emerging field.

Articles on ethical issues and the following are welcome; this is not an exhaustive list.

Bioinformatics, biorepositories
Business of health information technology
Decision support systems and prognostic scoring systems
Disability and health informatics
Electronic health records
Government regulation of health informatics tools
Information and communications technology (ICT)
International issues, including harmonization, best practices, etc.
Internet and the World Wide Web
Laboratory information management systems
Mobile health
Personal health records
Public health informatics
Privacy and confidentiality
Professional-patient relationships
Remote presence healthcare, medical homes, etc.
Research and informatics
Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
Robots and digital/virtual companions
Safety, quality and evaluation
Social networking
Software engineering and writing

Author queries are encouraged. For more information or to submit a manuscript, email the Section Editor:

Kenneth W. Goodman, Ph.D., FACMI
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
kgoodman AT med DOT miami DOT edu

Please share this notice with others who might be interested. More information about the journal, including guidelines for authors, is available at

Monday, March 3, 2014

Register now for Ethics'2014

Registration is now open for 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Engineering, Science, and Technology:Ethics’2014, to be held Friday-Saturday, 23-24 May, 2014 at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare, Chicago, IL, USA.

The Program at a Glance shows  our panel on the PICT book on Saturday 9:45-11:15 am. I'll also be presenting a tutorial entitled "Working with Ethicists" on Friday, 9:30-10:30 am.

Register now! I hope to see you in Chicago.

Ken Pimple, PAIT Project Director