Manipulation Online: Philosophical Perspectives on Human-Machine Interaction

February 4, 2021 - April 7, 2021

This event is online


  • Niels Stensen Fellowship
  • NWO


Tilburg University
The Alan Turing Institute
University of New South Wales
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Tilburg University
University of Basel
Colorado State University
Umeå University
University of California, Merced
Radboud University Nijmegen
Stanford University
Delft University of Technology
King's College London
University of Surrey
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
University of Amsterdam
RWTH Aachen University
Uppsala University
Radboud University
University of Wisconsin, Madison
University of Hertfordshire
University of Duisburg-Essen
University of Hong Kong
VU University Amsterdam
Tilburg University


Radboud University Nijmegen
Delft University of Technology

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We increasingly interact with autonomous machines like online recommender systems, virtual assistants, smart environments, or robot care-takers. What are the ethical ramifications of our increasingly consequential interactions with these autonomous systems? Behind the recent public and academic 'techlash' is the growing concern that the influence exerted on us by machines is distinctly manipulative and problematic. However, the debate about online manipulation rests on philosophically underexplored territory. With a few exceptions, philosophical attention to manipulation has been scare, and many fundamental questions remain both about the nature of manipulation as well as its normative status.

Workshop Series and Edited Volume
This workshop series will discuss the contributions to a planned edited volume, which aims to fill a critical gap in current discussions of the ethics of human-machine interactions: we lack a deeper understanding of manipulation itself and its applicability to human-machine interactions. We need that understanding to assess and eventually guide our future interactions with machines reliably. The contributions to the workshop series aim to provide philosophical and conceptual depth and nuance to digital ethics debates about the manipulative influence of autonomous systems. Also, they aim to enrich and reinvigorate the philosophical debate on manipulation by applying existing theories as well as testing them through contemporary technological challenges. Finally, the contributions will contribute methodologically by offering a type of applied philosophy that is solidly anchored in philosophical theory that is strictly in the service of contributing to contemporary societal questions and challenges.

The am of the workshop sersies specifically is

  1. to be a forum for a ‘Manipulation Online’ research community;
  2. to be a workshop for contributors to hone in on and improve their contribution to the edited volume with feedback from others, and
  3. to be a place where we can think about and enhance the cohesion of the volume together.

Timeline & Time of workshop series

  • February 2021 – April 2021
  • 10 weeks
  • 1 meeting per week á 120min max (incl. intro & break)
  • Alternating Wednesdays Thursdays each week (to accommodate people who are systematically unable to participate on a given day)
  • Start: 5pm Amsterdam, 11am New York, 8am Los Angeles.


  • Pre-Read, in-depth discussion.
  • Two contributions per session.
  • Brief intro by speaker (approximately 10 minutes, no ppt required), then discussion of the main claim and overall argument, with a view to volume as a whole, too.

Registered participants will be sent the meeting login details and the paper draft in advance of the meetings. Depending on the number of registrations, we will either livestream the event (so that registered guests can follow the discussion and participate via chat) or have a regular conference call.

Register via this link: (Registration closed on January 29th)

If you have questions about the event series, please contact the organisers Fleur Jongepier ([email protected]) and Michael Klenk ([email protected]).

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January 29, 2021, 12:00pm CET

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