Challenging the ideal of transparency as a process and as an output variable of Responsible Innovation : The case of 'the Circle'

In Robert Gianni, John Pearson & Bernard Reber (eds.), Responsible Research and Innovation. Routledge (2019)
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This chapter explores the opportunities and limitations of the ideal of transparency in responsible innovation, by consulting the virtual case of "The Circle", a company which appears in Dave Eggers' novel The Circle. The Circle is a high-tech company with the main purpose of being responsive to societal needs. They want to eradicate unethical behaviour in society, enhance public health and make a positive impact on the environment. The ultimate goal of The Circle is to reach 100% full transparency in the world, which is impossible without any societal desirability. In first instance, it is free choice of people to accept and embrace the products and services of The Circle, who invest resources in keeping customers happy and in raising awareness about the dangers of privacy. The chapter concludes that The Circle meets the requirements regarding the outcomes of responsible innovation, at least to a certain extent, while at the same time, one feels unease about certain activities they undertake.

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Vincent Blok
Wageningen University and Research


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