Social, Ethical, and Legal Issues in Presence Research and Applications
Peach FP6 Coordination Action No. 33909
52 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2009
Date Written: May 1, 2009
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
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