At every turn, we encounter evasions and refusals of responsibility for technology, from those who make it, those who profit from it, and those who use it. Rhetoric, ideology, habits, practices, and the architecture and scale of technology facilitate these evasions and refusals.
As Hans Jonas noted more than forty years ago, we need to rethink and reimagine the nature of responsibility in light of the challenges presented by modern technology. Few things are more needful, yet it would appear that emerging technology is often characterized precisely by a tendency to obscure, disperse, and mask responsibility. Writing about humanist technology criticism back in 2015, I suggested that a humanist critique of technology would entail a preference for technology that, among other characteristics, does not obfuscate moral responsibility. This seems all the more urgent with each passing year and each new revelation about the human and social costs of emerging technology.
Another Hans Jonas reference—I feel like I probably ought to read some of his stuff. It seems like The Imperative Of Responsibility is the place to start.