Bio: Matthew J. Dennis is an ethicist of emerging technology. His research focuses on digital well-being and how to design online technologies for human flourishing. He is currently a Research Fellow in Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies (Philosophy & Ethics, TU/e). Prior to this, he was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow (Values, Technology & Innovation, TU Delft, 2019–2021) and an Early-Career Innovation Fellow (Institute of Advanced Studies, 2018–2019). His research focuses on how we can live well with recommender systems, social robots, virtual assistants, and self-care apps, as well as how gender, education, and intercultural factors affect our use of digital technologies.
Abstract: Global lockdowns have given millions a first-hand experience of how online technologies threaten digital well-being. Terms such as ‘Zoom fatigue’, ‘doomscrolling’, and ‘digi-straction’ have been coined to capture how online technologies can adversely affect essential aspects of human life. These neologisms reflect over a decade’s worth of anxieties by psychologists, communication scientists, and tech NGOs, all of whom are concerned about the dangers of the persuasive technologies that programmers routinely employ to increase user engagement (scrolling, clicking, swiping). Persuasive technologies threaten our digital well-being. They do this by undermining our ability to focus, deliberate, and act autonomously, which ethicists view as necessary conditions for leading a flourishing life. Value-sensitive designers have responded to these concerns by suggesting that online technologies should be designed in ways that nudge us towards a better online behaviour. A value-sensitive design approach proposes repurposing persuasive technologies, so these technologies actively promote digital well-being, rather than simply increasing user engagement (scrolling, clicking, swiping). This shifts the bulk of responsibility for digital well-being from users to providers. This presentation will propose how to tackle the complex ethical issues of repurposing persuasive technologies for digital well-being by integrating cutting-edge empirical research on persuasive technologies with a normative account of what it is to flourish online.
Bio: Hooyberghs received a master and a PhD in science at the KU Leuven and UHasselt, Belgium. He was a KU Leuven postdoc studying complex systems, a scientific branch which drove him into life sciences. In 2003 he joined VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research) as a data scientist applying artificial intelligence in predictive modelling and held the positions of researcher, program manager and research leader. Since 2006 he is professor at UHasselt and is affiliated to the Data Science Institute of the university.
Abstract: In a health sector where personalized products and services are becoming increasingly important, personal data is a necessary prerequisite. The ethical and GDPR challenges involved raise questions about access to and management of this data. Contradictions seem to be emerging between different trends in our society. We believe this can change by creating a level playing field, Flemish and international, through a citizen-driven platform: We Are.
Bio: Barbara Weber is Full Professor for Software Systems Programming and Development at the University of St. Gallen (HSG), Switzerland since 2019. Moreover, Barbara is the Dean of the newly founded School of Computer Science at HSG since August 2020. Together with her colleagues and supported by the IT Education Initiative of the Canton St. Gallen she is in the process of establishing Computer Science programs for East Switzerland and beyond. The programs combine Computer Science with Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, providing a modern Computer Science curriculum building upon the strengths of HSG. Prior to that, Barbara held a full professorship at the Technical University of Denmark and led the Section for Software and Process Engineering for 3 years. Before moving to Denmark, Barbara worked for over 15 years for the University of Innsbruck where she started her research career and obtained her doctorate and habilitation degrees. Barbara’s research interests include human and cognitive aspects in software and process engineering, process modeling and mining. On these and other topics, Barbara published more than 175 peer-reviewed papers and articles in scientific journals.