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The Ethics of Digital Well-Being

Digital technologies continue to impact the well-being of individuals and society, both in terms of how we measure the value of our lives or projects and also the ways in which we understand what it means to live a life that is good for us. In recent years, the discussion of digital well-being has been centred on issues such as attention manipulation, persuasion and bias, as well as the possible risk of behavioural addiction and increased polarisation. However, digital technologies offer us positive opportunities to protect and promote our well-being in addition to posing risks that we should try to avoid.
A central aim of this project is to explore how the concept of ‘well-being’ has changed, as a result of our embedding digital technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence, IoT-enabled devices, and autonomous decision-making systems) into central areas of our lives and society. Drawing on areas such as moral philosophy, cognitive and behavioural sciences, and human-computer interaction, our project seeks to answer questions such as: ‘What does it mean to flourish in a digital society?’, ‘What are the main risks to well-being that digital technologies pose, and how should we govern the development of technology in light of these risks?’, and finally, ‘What can moral philosophy teach us about how to use digital technologies in ways that are good for us and society more generally?’