New Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center to address ‘big questions’ of emerging technology

Author: Patrick Gibbons

ND Technology Ethics Center

The University of Notre Dame plans to add 15 new faculty positions in its recently established Technology Ethics Center, which aims to address the increasingly complex and continuously evolving ethical and policy questions related to the impact of technology on society and individuals.

The center, known as ND-TEC, will connect faculty members from across the University’s colleges, schools and institutes, including leaders in the sciences, engineering, law, philosophy and other disciplines. 

Those affiliated with ND-TEC will conduct research to explore enduring and emerging ethical concerns across a wide range of innovation and technological contexts and from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and perspectives.

The center also will convene leading figures in industry, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to develop and apply ethical and legal frameworks, and it will develop curriculum that engages students at all levels of the University on technology ethics issues.  

“Through the work of this new center, Notre Dame has an opportunity to play an important role in ensuring ethical questions are carefully considered throughout the entire innovation and technology development process,” said Sarah Mustillo, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, who has spearheaded the initiative. “We are in the midst of a search for a leading authority to serve as founding director of this initiative and help us attract the types of faculty members needed to ensure its success.”

“We are living in an age of unbridled and increasingly fierce competition to pursue ever-more-capable and human-like technologies,” said Mark McKenna, the John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law at Notre Dame and interim director of ND-TEC. “The aim of the new center is to explore the myriad ethical and policy issues associated with these new and emerging technologies to help us keep pace with their human and societal impacts.”

ND TEC will host its first event — a series of panel discussions on deepfakes and other manipulated content, featuring leading academic, industry and policy experts — on Oct. 18 (Friday) at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.