Connecting the dots between health, tech, and ethics: a reading list

Connecting the dots between health, tech, and ethics: a reading list

There’s a certain magic to swiping, typing, and tapping to monitor or even improve one’s health. The internet, broadband, and mobile technology have spurred inventions that have radically transformed our lives, including our health. Even people who don’t consider themselves to be tech-savvy are counting their steps, tracking their heart rates, and monitoring their blood glucose levels. And some people will even tell you their lives depend on that data.

At Luminary Labs, we see the promise of technology as a force for good. And yet, our experience working at the intersection of health and emerging technologies — such as voice tech, AR/VR, and artificial intelligence — requires us to consider the unintended consequences.

More than 18 months ago, we issued a call for health tech ethicists. Since then, tech ethics headlines have saturated the news — from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal to cities banning facial recognition technology. A couple years ago, the health tech ethics world was smaller; it was difficult to find people talking about what could possibly go wrong. Today, the list is long and growing. Researchers are publishing papers, governments are questioning technology that’s not quite ready, and companies are considering their roles in a world where we’re building the plane as we’re flying it. Just this week, Kaiser Permanente’s Nick Dawson asked Twitter users to help his team predict “the potential dystopian futures that might come from telemedicine and virtual care and AI.”

The evolving conversation around health tech ethics is promising, but we’re still just scratching the surface. Healthcare AI startups are raising more money than AI companies in other industries; as technology investment and adoption accelerates, we should be considering tough questions at the intersection of health, tech, and equity.

If you share our passion for connecting these important dots, you’ll want to explore these resources — some are recent articles and papers; some have been sparking conversations for months. Here’s what we’ve been reading:

This year, we’ve published a series of Problem Spotlights on the opioid crisis, upskilling and reskilling, building a thoughtful space economy, and the aging of America. Next up: algorithmic bias in health. What should we know about this problem? Who’s working on a solution? Make us smarter: Send your tips to


Sara Holoubek
Founding Partner and CEO
Jessica Hibbard
Head of Content & Community