Ethics in Technical Content

Ray Gallon

This live online course explores the role of ethics in the development, management, and distribution of technical content as we move into the fourth industrial revolution: key concepts, use cases, strategies for addressing ethical issues, coping with challenges, awareness of international initiatives, and many more questions than answers!


Duration: 8 hour(s)

Date: Eight sessions on Tuesdays coming in March 2023

Cost: 595,00 + tax

About This course

We specialists in technical content like to relate to verifiable facts, which we communicate to our audiences with a maximum of clarity and reliability. How can we know that our information will “do no harm,” and serve its intended purpose of simplifying peoples’ lives?

In this course we’ll examine the role of ethics in the development of technical content, especially going forward into the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where machines make decisions without human intervention.

  • We’ll look at real use cases that pose ethical questions, and examine possible ways to answer them.
  • We’ll investigate ideas and techniques, old and new, for raising our own and our audiences’ awareness of the issues.
  • We’ll look at questions of traceability, accountability, and responsibility from a content specialist’s point of view.
  • We’ll examine the digital bubble, cognitive biases, questions of fake news and trust.
  • We’ll ask what we content specialists have learned from the Covid pandemic
  • We’ll survey international initiatives under way to ensure ethical AI.

Above all, we will ask more questions than we answer. We’ll not make judgements or preach to anyone, but we will look at some hard problems facing us as content practitioners and learn together how we might address them.


  • When you successfully complete this course, you will:
    • Gain skill at identifying where ethical questions lie in technical content development
    • Acquire strategies for dealing with ethical questions in technical content
    • Sharpen your awareness of issues such as cognitive bias, diversity, responsibility, and the digital bubble.
    • Gain an overview of international initiatives for ethical AI and how people are thinking about these issues.
    • Be prepared to develop your own strategies for building trust and overcoming fear in contexts similar to the Covid-19 pandemic where reliable information is mission-critical.


This course is presented live online. Some pre-recorded expository material may be provided, but the essence of it comes from interacting in real time during course sessions and continuing the conversation in forums.

The course material is purposely designed to foster interaction, debate, and discussion. There are no formulaic answers to the questions we raise, and understanding comes from debating and discussing open-ended issues.

Participants who successfully follow the process through will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course.


  • The two purposes of content and the responsibilities that come with them
  • Thinking and doing: The rationale for ethics in content development
  • The fourth industrial revolution: why it changes the content game
  • The “moral machine,” or how to ask the wrong question
  • It’s a very complex world full of “wicked problems”
  • Wicked use case 1: automated agriculture
  • Wicked use case 2: hybrid legal system
  • Wicked use case 3: AI and medicine
  • Wicked use case 4: “for your own good”
  • Qualia and Cognitive Bias
  • AI and diversity – the status of “intelligent” machines
  • Contractual responsibility multiple digital generations down the road
  • The digital bubble and influence
  • What we have learned from Covid
  • Trust, community, and content
  • Fear and breach of social contract
  • Fake news and the limits of acceptability
  • International initiatives for ethical AI
  • Conquering fear, building relationships


Anyone working in any job related to the creation, management, and distribution of technical content. It applies to people at every stage of professional development, from new practitioners to seasoned veterans.


Ray Gallon is president and co-founder of The Transformation Society, which promotes digital transformation and organisational learning, and the Information 4.0 Consortium. He teaches at the Universities of Barcelona and Strasbourg, and is co-chair of the Transformation and Information 4.0 Research and Development Group of the World Federation of Associations for Teacher Education.

Ray is a fellow of the society for Technical Communication, and a former STC international board member. He is the author of books and articles about technical communication, instructional design, content strategy, and emerging technologies. He is based between Barcelona, Spain, and the Occitanie region in France.

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