Københavns Universitet
Uafhængig af ledelsen


Ethics and Critique of Digital Health: Looking Beyond Orders of Worth

Foredrag — Talk by Jay Shaw (University of Toronto) on digital health ethics at the Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies, University of Copenhagen


Date & Time:

Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies, University of Copenhagen, CSS 10.0.11

Hosted by:
Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies (MeST)



Understood broadly, digital health refers to a collection of digital technologies used for health-related purposes. These purposes include self-tracking or self-management, the delivery of health care and public health services, and the storage and analysis of health-related data to inform activities across dimensions of health services and health promotion. In the context of substantialdiversity between systems of health care and public health around the world, digital health is situated at the intersection of publicly funded or governed systems of care and privately owned commercial technology providers. The juxtaposition of these two domains, and the complexity of incentives and policies that characterize their relationships, positions digital health as a uniquelyinsightful domain in which to study the normative links between technology and society, and the possibilities for ethically motivated critique of technology.

In this presentation, Dr. Shaw engages with the theoretical apparatus of “orders of worth” from Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot as an entryway into a resolution to this challenge. After critiquing the social ontology on which the concept of “orders of worth” is based, Dr. Shaw presents an alternative way forward for a post-foundational approach to ethical analysis and critique of digital health. He will illustrate this approach through the example of an empirical research project on the design and implementation of a Smart Physiotherapy Activity Recognition System (SPARS), consisting of a machine learning algorithm embedded in a smart watch and employed in the effort to enhance recovery and prevent surgeries related to injuries of the shoulder.