Smart Society Cases

Ethical dilemmas of digitizing governance


Digital technology has entered all fibers of society and raises issues in various policy areas. Nowadays, more than half of all government decisions are no longer taken by people, but by computers. Automated decision-making carries the promise of being more flexible when processing large amounts of decisions, but is not without risk to the citizen. How can digital decision-making be used effectively and fairly for government and citizens? And: A quarter of all residents have difficulty getting effective contact with the government when they need the government. Is public service in a democratic constitutional state not just about supporting the less self-reliant citizen?



  • Qualitative research, interviews, ethical review
  • Writing up and publishing two case studies



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Client: Waag Society, Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten (VNG)

Year: 2020

Service: Investigative journalism, ethical review.

Expertise: Ethics of Technology.


Images by Scott Webb and Brian Kostiuk via Unsplash.

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