Social, Ethical, and Legal Issues in Presence Research and Applications

Peach FP6 Coordination Action No. 33909

52 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2009  

Ralph Schroeder

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Eric T. Meyer

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Malte Ziewitz

Cornell University

Date Written: May 1, 2009

Abstract

The experience of presence is at the core of everyday life and interactions. How we experience and make sense of the world plays a crucial role for how we think about and act upon it. Introducing new technologies like brain-computer interfaces and mixed reality applications to change, augment, substitute, or reconfigure this process is therefore bound to raise a number of fundamental social, ethical, and legal issues.

To better understand the role of presence technologies in social interactions, this report engages in an in-depth analysis and discussion of four presence related research projects under the PEACH program (PRESENCCIA, IPCity, PASION, and IMMERSENCE) and also reports on the state of the debate in the PEACH community. The analysis reveals a rather diverse set of issues and concerns that run along a number of dimensions, including context of use, degree of uncertainty involved, and level of immersion experienced by users.

Mapping the social, ethical, and legal issues, the report suggests that presence technologies not only raise new problems, but also added new qualities to existing ones. Besides questions of research ethics especially with regard to increasingly invasive techniques, concerns revolve - among other things - around the physical and mental well-being of users, issues of identity, deception, manipulation, and potential abuse, questions about privacy and the treatment of large amounts of personal data, the involvement of non-users, the difficult transition between different experiences of presence, and challenges to existing legal frameworks.

Keywords: presence, social, ethical, legal, technology, public policy, neuroscience

Suggested Citation

Schroeder, Ralph and Meyer, Eric T. and Ziewitz, Malte, Social, Ethical, and Legal Issues in Presence Research and Applications (May 1, 2009). Peach FP6 Coordination Action No. 33909. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1478388

Ralph Schroeder

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Eric T. Meyer

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St Giles
Oxford, OX1 3JS
United Kingdom
01865 287210 (Phone)
01865 287211 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/?id=120

Malte Ziewitz (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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