The values and design of emerging medical biotechnologies: A grounded theory analysis of TED talks

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The nonprofit TED organization currently hosts over 2800 videos on their website about topics related to Technology, Entertainment, and Design. The average video receives over one million views and serves as an influential tool for how the public thinks about the role of technology in their daily lives. In this work in progress, a values and design approach is used to consider what values are indicated by TED speakers when they present emerging medical biotechnologies to the general viewing public. Over 50 TED talks are identified as discussing these technologies at various stages of design: theoretically, in development, and currently tested. The transcripts of these videos are coded using a grounded theory approach to identify how values are used to present these emerging technologies. Preliminary results suggest that theoretical biotechnologies are discussed in more extreme utopian and dystopian views, but that the intensity of these views lessen when the technologies presented are further along in the development process. Biotechnologies currently tested on humans are more likely to be described using standard social values like privacy, sustainability, and human welfare. The values used to discuss these technologies suggests important ethical implications regarding the role they should occupy in society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-758
Number of pages2
JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 by Association for Information Science and Technology


  • TED talks
  • Values
  • biotechnology
  • design
  • emerging technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Library and Information Sciences


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