Humanitarian organizations increasingly implement innovative technologies as they respond to the needs of communities affected by war, disaster or public health emergencies. However, technological innovation intersects with moral values, norms and commitments, and may challenge humanitarian imperatives. Therefore, an analysis of ethical issues associated with humanitarian innovation is a pressing need for understanding what is at stake and how best to move forward.
Using drones as an exemplar case of humanitarian innovation, our workshop aims to answer three questions:
- What is known about the interplay between technological innovation and ethical values, norms and commitments in the humanitarian use of drones?
- How should the shared or disparate values of humanitarian stakeholders be interpreted and addressed in the development and deployment of drones?
- What policies and guidance tools can best direct the integration of ethical values for the humanitarian use of drones, and for humanitarian innovations more broadly?
To answer the first question, we will present the results of several case studies that focus on the use of drones in mapping and medical cargo delivery. To answer the second question, experts in the field will provide their analysis and opinions on normative aspects of using emergent technologies in humanitarian action in general and with respect to drones in particular. To answer the last question, various stakeholders – including representatives from humanitarian organizations – will discuss policy proposals related to humanitarian drone use that have been developed by the applicant team.