CFP: 13TH BRAGA MEETINGS ON ETHICS AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY - Panel 8: Influenced by technologies. Ethical issues

Submission deadline: April 3, 2023

Conference date(s):
June 15, 2023 - June 16, 2023

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Centre for Ethics, Politics and Society (CEPS), Universidade do Minho
Braga, Portugal


If you want to apply, please submit an abstract of 500 words along with five keywords of your paper prepared for peer review by 3rd April 2023. We will respond by 17th April 2023. All proposals must be submitted online through our website using theAbstract submission form (please, click “Submit Abstract” and fill the form).

Convenor: Stefano Calboli

All inquiries about the panel should be sent [email protected]

The panel wants to promote the investigation of ethical issues in employing technologies (e.g., social robots, wearable technologies, and virtual agents) to purposely influence users through typically concealed means, e.g., nudges and persuasive attitudes. Literature concerning, on one side, the ethics of nudging through technologies (see Borenstein & Arkin 2015; Yeung 2016) and, on the other side, the ethics of persuasive technology (see Siegel et al. 2009; Fogg 2003) revealed phenomena that need of an in-depth investigation. Considering cases in which humans influence humans, nudges and persuasive attitudes are influences primarily investigated within behavioral sciences, cognitive sciences, and social engineering. Insights from such disciplines seem extensive and featured by a precision high enough to provide choice architects with means that effectively mold human behaviors. However, the relevance of such insights when human-technologies interactions are in focus would deserve a more exhaustive investigation. In particular, the ethical implications of influencing technological tools deserve further analysis, especially in those cases in which it is easy that its influences to remain unnoticed by those who are influenced. Evidence and ethical considerations regarding potential concealed influences exerted directly by humans could not be applicable, mutatis mutandis, to the cases in which technologies are instead employed. This potential asymmetry is the ratio behind the panel.

The panel aims to develop an interdisciplinary research agenda that connects behavioral economics, cognitive sciences, behavioral sciences, social robotics, social engineering, and captology. Questions to be addressed include – but are not limited to – the following:

● Should influences by technologies be expected to be as effective as when implemented by humans?

● Are there specific ethical challenges in place when technologies are exerted?

● Does the use of technologies open new solutions to the ethical challenges associated with nudges and means of persuasion?

● What kind of (if any) new knowledge or epistemic influences are typical of influences exerted by technologies?

● Could influencing technologies help us to taxonomize influences and identify the ethical issues specifically related to each kind of influence?

● How should the responsibility of detecting influences through technologies be shared among influencers and those who are influenced? 

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