Prometheus’ Problems | Moral machines: What if technology decides for us? (online only)

Recording: Prometheus’ Problems | Moral machines: What if technology decides for us? (online only)

Because of COVID restrictions, this event will be livestreamed on our YouTube Channel.

Prometheus’ Problems

Think and drink at this philosophical café

Moral machines: What if technology decides for us?

You get home, it’s late. You’re hungry, but then you remember you forgot to do the groceries. No sweat, ‘cause your fridge scans its contents and automatically orders at your local supermarket whenever shelves get empty. Nifty, right?

But what if the fridge analyses your eating and drinking behaviour, if it determines you eat too much fat or salt and bans your favourite snacks? What if you reach for a beer, but it’s not there? Or even worse: your fridge stays locked because it says beer is unhealthy.

Technology taking over control is not new. Think of self–driving cars, automated drones or – indeed – that smart fridge. But what if we lose autonomy to these machines? Can machines make moral decisions? Is this acceptable? And where do we draw the line?

That is what we will discuss at the second edition of our brand new philosophical café Prometheus’ Problems! At this monthly event, students, professors and external experts will exchange thoughts about philosophical and ethical themes related to engineering, modern technology and its impact on society. Importantly, the themes are based upon questions put forward by students themselves. A discussion in a comfortable setting, with a drink at hand.

Iohanna Nicenboim is a Microsoft Research PhD Fellow at Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design.

Iohanna Nicenboim is a PhD Fellow at TU Delft, investigating AI through more-than-human design. Using design provocations, she explores the relations between humans and artificial agents in everyday life, and how that demands a shift from explanations to shared understandings of AI. Before starting her PhD, Iohanna worked for several years as a speculative designer, creating design fictions to highlight the ethics of living with smart technologies in future everyday life.  More information at

Jan Bergen is a Lecturer in Ethics of Technology at the TPM Faculty’s department for Values, Technology and Innovation.

Marco Rozendaal is Associate Professor of Interaction Design at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering.

Marco Rozendaal is Associate Professor of Interaction Design at TU Delft’s Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, where he directs the Expressive Intelligence Lab. With a background in interactive media, design and engineering, his research straddles multiple disciplines and combines practical, critical and methodological perspectives. Marco’s current work explores the design of new interaction styles and paradigms engendered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). He investigates AI from a relational perspective. Understanding that intelligence is more than a sum of computational capacities, Marco explores the way intelligence is expressed through objects, as something to interact with, and something that gains meaning in wider ecologies of people and things.

In his research, Marco applies Research-through-Design (RtD) as a research methodology: creating design concepts and prototypes that embody particular research questions, and which then are tested out as interventions in real-world settings. Concrete learnings from RtD are abstracted and presented as design knowledge—making both practical and theoretical contributions in Design—but can also lead to knowledge in other disciplines that have informed the design (i.e., social sciences, engineering sciences, or philosophy of technology). Within RtD, he combines methods from Theatre, Design and Engineering to investigating AI from a relational perspective and he is strongly committed to bringing design research to a broader audience through exhibitions and events.

Prometheus’ Problems is an initiative of Studium Generale and the Philosophy/Ethics of Technology section (TBM-VTI).

Visit the location's website here.