On thinging things and serving services: technological mediation and inseparable goods

Wolter Pieters

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)


    In our high-tech society, the design process involves profound questions about the effects of the resulting goods, and the responsibilities of designers. In the philosophy of technology, effects of “things‿ on user experience and behaviour have been discussed in terms of the concept of technological mediation. Meanwhile, what we create has moved more and more towards services (processes) rather than products (things), in particular in the context of information services. The question is raised to what extent the concept of technological mediation is adequate to understand effects and responsibilities in information services as well. Therefore, this paper discusses differences between product aspects and service aspects of our creations, and evaluates the applicability of the concept of technological mediation to information services. Specific features of a notion of technological mediation for information services are highlighted, in particular with respect to the different relation between production and consumption. Finally, the paper focuses on the ethical consequences of service impact, and recommendations for service providers, especially in terms of the possibilities for second-order mediation by inviting users to change service properties.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)195-208
    Number of pages14
    JournalEthics and information technology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


    • SCS-Cybersecurity
    • EC Grant Agreement nr.: FP7/261696
    • EC Grant Agreement nr.: FP7/2007-2013
    • EC Grant Agreement nr.: FP7/318003
    • Design ethics
    • Inseparability
    • Service impact
    • Responsibility
    • Personalisation
    • Technological mediation
    • Product impact


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