The idea of justice in innovation and development

9 May 2019

As The Open University celebrates its 50th anniversary and prepares to host the Opening up Development  2019 conference it is apt for Theo Papaionnou, Professor of Politics, Innovation and Development, to deliver his inaugural lecture to explore the idea of justice in innovation.

Social Justice has preoccupied political theorists for a very long time. From Plato to Locke, Hume and J. S. Mill all the way to Rawls, Marion Young and Sen, the idea of justice has been defined as a moral and political standard of how people ought to live and relate to one another within a framework of fair institutions.

Although theories and principles of justice have been applied to govern various social and political actions, technological innovation remains a difficult area for the application of justice. This is not only because of the pace and complexity of emerging technologies but also because of perceptions of value neutrality in the innovation process. Yet innovation is a human action that is guided by both ethical norms and interests and is significant for justice.

Emerging technologies create opportunities for promoting justice but at the same time they also pose risks to injustice.

In this lecture, Professor Papaioannou will discuss how justice can be applied to innovation in an inclusive way, which takes the needs of populations into account. He will talk about areas such as data ownership; what social justice means for Eastern Europe, and for the world of Artificial Intelligence.


Tuesday, June 04, 2019 – 18:00 – 19:00


Berrill Lecture Theatre, Walton Hall, The Open University, MK6 7AA

Event programme

17.15 Tea/coffee on arrival

18:00 -18:40 Inaugural lecture: The idea of justice in innovation and development

18:40 -19:00 Q&A

19:00 -20:00 Drinks Reception

Register to attend in person or watch online here.