The Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Ethics (CAIDE) warmly welcomes Assistant Professor Matthew Dennis, from the Ethics of Technology at TU Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
Matthew will be discussing persuasive technologies such as micro-targeting, e-nudges, digital choice architecture and gamification, which threaten our digital wellbeing. He argues they do this by undermining our ability to focus, deliberate, and act autonomously, which ethicists view as necessary conditions for leading a flourishing life.
To date, the most influential ethical approaches to digital wellbeing have been user-focused, concentrating on the capabilities (Oosterlaken 2015, Johnstone 2012), character-traits (Harrison 2016, Vallor 2016), or reflective capacities (Sullivan & Reiner 2019) that users need to flourish online. Nevertheless, such approaches require users to take complete responsibility for their digital wellbeing, which makes little sense given the manipulative power of persuasive technologies.
Value-sensitive designers (VSD) have responded to these concerns by suggesting that online technologies should be designed in ways that nudge us towards a better online behaviour. Prominent NGOs (such as the US-based Center for Humane Technology) and tech corporations (Google) are now considering VSD as a way to improve the digital wellbeing of their users. A value-sensitive design approach proposes repurposing persuasive technologies, so these technologies actively promote digital wellbeing, rather than simply increasing user engagement (scrolling, clicking, swiping). This shifts the bulk of responsibility for digital wellbeing from users to providers.
Note: This is a dual speaker event and is being hosted in-person only, Matthew will be discussing Repurposing Persuasive Technologies from 1.45pm, after lunch has been served. Frank Dignum will be discussing Transdisciplinary AI from 12.00pm, don’t miss out - sign up for Frank’s event here.
Matthew J. Dennis is an assistant professor in ethics of technology at TU Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
He specialises in the ethics of artificial intelligence and persuasive technology. His recent publications focus on how we can live well with emerging technologies (data-driven algorithms, recommender systems, virtual assistants, self-care apps), as well as how our digital wellbeing is affected by gender, income, and intercultural factors.