Holographic Communications Technologies : A qualitative study on the ethical and\or legal challenges based on the stakeholders' perspectives

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för informatik (IK)

Abstract: Holographic communications technologies are a new digital technology being currently  developed by companies to be available to the public in the near future. Through holographic  communications technologies, the image of one user located in one place can be captured with  special equipment from different angles, so that its three-dimensional depiction is created  realistically. The 3D depiction is then transmitted in high-quality to another user located in some  other remote place, creating a whole new experience of unconventional data communication. This  new digital technology is planned to be deployed in several fields, such as marketing, education,  medicine, business and entertainment. However, like any new technological tool that is  introduced, also in the case of holographic communication technologies there are ethical and/or  legal challenges that could emerge from its misuse and set in danger fundamental human rights.  Hence, research was conducted as an interpretive qualitative study to explore the potential ethical  and/or legal challenges of holographic communications technologies by considering the  knowledge, opinions, experiences, and perspectives of legal experts, as well as experts on ethical  issues. The empirical data was collected through individual semi-structured interviews from the  selected participants, and from the review of mainly confidential documents, before being  subjected to a thematic analysis. The analysis of the data gave prominence to five themes which  were reviewed in the context of the research question and the proposed theoretical framework  with the help of Ethical Technology Assessment (ETA). The discussion of the findings revealed  that the most prominent challenges that could arise from the use of holographic communications  technologies are privacy and data protection issues. It was further shown that existing digital  technologies with similar features and the ethical and/or legal challenges confronted in the past  about them can be of help to approach the ones regarding holographic communications  technologies. The research indicated that the designing phase of a new digital technology, and  accordingly holographic communication technologies, is important as decisions are being made  about the technical features of it, as well as the capabilities it will offer to the end users. Hence, it  plays a vital role to whether the use of the digital technology will be according to ethics and laws  later on. It was also shown that the participation of end users in this phase is important to reflect  their concerns and desires with the creators before the new digital technology is introduced, but  it is still a challenge to decide who will be included and on what criteria they will be selected.   The research showed that existing ethical and legal frameworks are important to form a  corresponding framework for holographic communications technologies and can be built upon.  However, this is also a challenge, as, according to the research, any new framework that will be  constructed with regard to holographic communications technologies cannot possibly be  unanimous as different norms and societal beliefs apply to different territories or domains, but  should rather be “personalized” according to the targeted audience.

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