ICT for Consumers or Human Beings: What’s the Difference?

ICT for Consumers or Human Beings: What’s the Difference?

Elizabeth Sillence (University of Northumbria,UK) and Antti Pirhonen (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-499-8.ch016
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The large scale deployment of mobile applications inevitably impacts upon our culture as a whole and affects more intimately our daily lives. Not all of these effects are desirable. In a market economy, ethical issues are not the most important drivers in the development of technology. In this chapter, the authors ask whether the mobile human-computer interaction community could take an active role in discussing ethical issues. In so doing as a community we could focus our attention on developing technology for ‘human beings’ rather than fine tuning our emerging gadgets.
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Roasting Your Brains

It is not headline news to report that mobile phones, when used in their traditional handset form adversely affect human brains. The health risks associated with this form of radiation are highly controversial, and there is no sign of this debate being resolved in the near future. At present it is difficult for a consumer to find relevant information about the risks, while commercial interests are so evident in both the research and reporting of research in the area. In a recent analysis (Marino & Carubba, 2009) it was found that vast majority of the EMF (electro magnetic field) health risk reports have been wholly or partially funded by mobile phone industry. It is hardly surprising, that when a mobile phone manufacturer is funding a health risk study, the published results never indicate any potential danger. One thing we can say for sure is that currently no one really knows how severe the risk is.

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