Assistant Professor

Katleen Gabriels

Discussions around new technologies are all too often ‘black-and-white’, with only 'fantastic' and 'terrible' positions. Today, however, we need to look for far more nuanced positions.

Research Profile

Katleen Gabriels is an assistant professor in the research group Philosophy and Ethics at the Department Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). She researches the relations between morality and contemporary technologies. In so doing, she seeks to conjoin a strong grounding in moral philosophy with empirical studies. Her research focuses on ‘other-tracking technologies’. Mobile and wearable computing create ever more possibilities to track one another through GPS-enabled devices and mobile applications: parents can track their children, spouses their significant other, employers their employees, and so forth. With these apps and smart devices we can monitor and even discipline the other at-a-distance. Her expertise is in the area of philosophy and ethics of technology, computer ethics, media ethics, moral philosophy, Internet of Things (IoT), (social) virtual worlds and virtual reality (VR). 

Academic Background

Katleen holds an MSc in Germanic Philology from KU Leuven and an MSc in Moral Sciences from Ghent University and a doctoral degree in Philosophy and Moral Sciences from Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), where she worked as a postdoctoral researcher from 2014 to 2017. She was also a visiting postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna and a guest professor at the VUB. In addition, Katleen also studied one full academic year (2007-2008) at Helsinki University (Erasmus program). Katleen is an elected steering committee member of Ethicomp, an international organization that occupies itself with ethical computing. Her book 'Onlife. Hoe de digitale wereld je leven bepaalt (How digitization shapes your life)' was published (Lannoo) in 2016 and named as ‘Book of the year’ by independent think tank Liberales.

Katleen Gabriels in first episode of TU/e podcast “Sound of Science”

In the first episode of the new scientific podcast Sound of Science, Flemish comedian and science fanatic Lieven Scheire talks to Katleen Gabriels about the ethics of technology. According to Katleen, technology is not neutral and in the podcast she discusses the dilemmas that modern technology entails. She explains how the use of GPS and tracking devices has changed the relationship between parents and children, and they talk about who is responsible for the consequences of the self-driving car.

The podcasts are in Dutch.


“We design technology, technology designs us”

There is no doubt that over the past decades technology has marked fundamental changes in society, impacting vital aspects in our lives. In spite of it having a positive effect on our lives at which things have become effortlessly efficient, prof. Katleen Gabriels at TU Eindhoven believes caution remains necessary. Researching the relationship between contemporary technologies and mortality, Kathleen argues that technology is never neutral as it is constantly shaping our actions, norms and values.

Ancillary Activities

No ancillary activities