People & Tech Group Projects

The group has two papers in progress. The first is a critical analysis of the effect of social media and tech on attention span. It coins the term “distraction technology” and argues that attention span is a worthy of protection as an ethical good. It further asserts that technology that interferes with deciding what projects of worthy on one’s time and attention are problematic. The paper explores endless scroll and business models designed to keep users on apps longer. The authors explore the concept of a moral duty to protect the ability to pay attention and the autonomy to decide how to spend time.

And still in the drafting phase is a paper on personifying technology. The paper looks at what it really means to be in a relationship. Does it require reciprocity that an inanimate object like AI is not capable of? The authors also investigate potential harms including human relationships that people may forgo when they engage in relationships with AI. Examples explored range from chat bots for customer service to AI as a romantic partner.

Published by Anne Zimmerman

Anne Zimmerman is an attorney with an MS in Bioethics from Columbia University and Editor-in-Chief of the online journal, Voices in Bioethics. Her research and experience include healthcare policy, the right to refuse care, autonomy and rights, criminal justice reform, mass incarceration, corporate governance and shareholders’ rights, and nutrition with a focus on policy surrounding access to a healthy food supply. (profile)

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