Thursday, 16 August 2018

Tech Ethics for Developers

After the Facebook, Uber and Volkswagen scandals, where are we as an industry? How did we get here and will things get better or worse? 80% of developers don’t feel it’s their responsibility if unethical products go live. Are they right?

We're here to question who is ultimately responsible for the impact of tech products, for good and bad, and what they can do about it.

Code doesn't kill people, product managers do? Or maybe shareholders? CEOs? Developers? Or do we all need to be informed and responsible?

In July 2018, we ran the Coed:Ethics conference in London - a radically new event championing diverse, bottom-up, developer-driven ethics asking how can we make technologists the last bastion of defence against unethical products? After all, we design, write and deploy them.

With talks, open mic and panels, we examined ethical decision-making at scale, building ethical products vs unethical ones, the psychology of making and standing by decisions and the pragmatic application of ethics within the Agile or CD process.

Should techies be amoral guns for hire? Can we be more and what resources can help us? This was the first in a series of activities designed to change the conversation.

What did we conclude? There are plenty of actions developers can take today to be more ethical. The easiest is around climate change and the way we host our servers. Read more about our sustainable servers petition and white paper. 


One of our Coed:Ethics goals was to build resources for developers around ethics in technology. We've set up a github project of useful links, thoughts and information for devs and non-devs alike. Please read and contribute your favourite resources.

We are also looking into resources about and trials of ethical Agile processes. Can we automate ethics? If not, how close can we get?


  • We are collaborating with the tech think tank Doteveryone on ethical checklists (or Responsible Tech as their project is called).
  • We are good friends with the team behind the GoodTechConf in Brighton in November. A great conference to go to !

Who are we?

Coed:Ethics is brought to you by Anne Currie and the team at Container Solutions working together with Coed:Code, the London tech meetup with over 700 members of all ages, genders, races, levels of experience in tech and (dis)abilities. Ethics in tech is a debate for everyone. Follow us @coedethics, @anne_e_currie, @containersoluti or @coedcode.

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