The Denver Manifesto


We, the undersigned, recognize that values manifest themselves in every aspect of computing. Computing technologies and practices have become unavoidable cornerstones of most societies, including constituencies who may not be the direct users, developers, or designers of the technology. Values play key roles in the design, development and deployment of technologies, shaping and guiding what we imagine.

It is important for these values to be explicitly and intentionally considered, not just with respect to the values intended but whose values are included, how conflicting values are negotiated, and how values are deployed in practice, especially but not solely when a technology is not fully transparent about how it produces its outputs.

As a long-term strategy to improve practices in industry and academia, we believe educational programs in computer science and adjacent fields should include focused attention to the values intertwined with the other aspects of career preparation for the field. This training should provide students with the tools necessary for discussing and evaluating relevant values and tensions between them. In addition to providing tools for assessing and communicating about direct impacts, this education should foster an understanding of indirect externalities and risk evaluation, without equating risks with harms.

It should prepare students to think critically, reflectively, and empathetically. It should prepare students to integrate diverse perspectives, and understand the cultural and historical contexts that shape present conditions. It should provide students with an understanding of how responsibility for creating products and systems that instantiate values may be distributed. It is a moral imperative for upstanding individuals in this field not to abdicate responsibility for the values manifest in the products of their work, or those espoused in their work environment.

In writing this statement at the Values In Computing workshop in Denver, May 7 2017, its authors draw on experiences from similar workshops at CHI and in other venues.

Sign the manifesto


Maria Angela Ferrario, Lancaster University, UK
Christopher Frauenberger, TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology), Austria
Ben Towne, Carnegie Mellon University, US
Dave Bryan Miller, Stanford University, US
Alan Dix, University of Birmingham, UK
Geraldine Fitzpatrick, TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology), Austria
Clarisse De Souza, PUC-Rio, Brazil
Will Simm, Lancaster University, UK
Gordon Blair, Lancaster University, UK
Maarten, Van Mechelen, Meaningful Interactions Lab (Mintlab) KU Leuven-imec, Belgium
Murillo Brandao, QuantumBrasil, Brazil
Marcelle Brandao, USU, Brazil
Rafael Rossi de Mello Brandao, IBM Research, Brazil
Juliana Jansen Ferreira, IBM Research, Brazil
Steve Dodier-Lazaro, UCL, France
Ian Johnson, Newcastle University, UK
Louise Mullagh, Lancaster University, UK
Christoph Becker, University of Toronto, Canada
Jakob Larsen, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Denmark
Gilbert Cockton, Northumbria University, UK
Bert Vandenberghe, Meaningful Interactions Lab (Mintlab), KU Leuven – imec, Belgium
Madeline E. Smith, Colgate University, USA
Marta Cecchinato, University College London, UK
Judith Good, University of Sussex, UK
Jon Whittle, Monash University, Australia
Corina Sas, Lancaster University, UK
M. Agela Sasse, University College London, UK
Oliver Bates, Lancaster University, UK
Abigail Durrant, Northumbria University, UK
Steve Easterbrook, University of Toronto, Canada