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ERCIM Ethics WG - Forum on Digital Ethics in Research: Beyond Compliance Monday-Tuesday 17-18 October 2022

ERCIM Ethics WG - Forum on Digital Ethics in Research: Beyond Compliance Monday-Tuesday 17-18 October 2022

The ERCIM (European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics) Ethics Working Group is organizing a workshop/seminar on October 17/18th, 2022, targeted at researchers and Research Ethics Boards (REBs). The event will consist of keynotes, presentations, tutorials and interactive sessions, and will provide ample time for open discussions. Different outcomes are envisioned, including some which may be directed towards policy makers.

Forum on Digital Ethics in Research

The responsible and ethical conduct of research in science and engineering is critical for excellence, socially relevant impact and public trust. The practice of ethical and regulatory review of research grew out of very harmful medical research involving human subjects and became widespread in the 1970s. Around the world Research Ethics Boards ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects involved in research studies. Regulations in the domain of biomedical research have been fairly effective in balancing the progress of research with the protection of research subjects, and have largely contributed to create a culture of ethical awareness around research involving human subjects.

Digital and connected technologies have increasingly become intertwined with our individual and collective daily lives, mediating our communications, profiling our behaviours, changing how we think, live and act, and presenting new tensions that interrogate the applications of standard guiding ethical principles. Research in digital sciences -- including computer science, automatic control, robotics and applied mathematics -- raises many new ethical challenges resulting from interactions between humans and deep tech. Researchers in digital sciences face tough ethical questions in their daily activity for which there aren't yet consensual answers. For instance the current research framework is ill-suited to oversee the unique ethical risks emerging in association with such fields as data science and AI research.

The forum we organise on October 17-18, 2022 aims at advancing the discussion about those challenges. There will be presentations on the ethics of research in AI, research data ethics, the work of research ethics committees, training, ethics and open science, etc. It will take place in Paris (Institut Imagine) and be held in hybrid form to enable wider participation. Registration is free but mandatory.

Scientific program and registration form here:

The forum is targeted at researchers and members of Research Ethics Boards. PhD students and young researchers are especially welcome and a tutorial session will be dedicated to them where they can also bring their own questions and the ethical issues they face. Here is a little incentive:

Alice: Hi Ben! You know what? I enrolled on a new PhD program at Hereafter University. They offered generous grants for machine learning students to design chatbots replicating the speech of deceased individuals and even generating new phrases that the person has never uttered in their lifetime. How does your own PhD go? Still with bees?

Ben: Hi Alice! The Hereafter program looks amazing. I wish I could chat with my grandpa again. As for me, the micro-robots to support the well-being of honeybee queens and optimise the honey yield are ready to be implemented in beehives. Demo within two months! Our partner Bill Surrogates is looking forward to it.

Alice: That’s really great to help the bees, times are so hard for them.

Well, let us encourage Alice and Ben to reflect about their PhD works and give them some basic tools to do so. Will you join in?

We are looking forward for your participation!!

ERCIM Ethics Working Group

Claude Kirchner (Inria, CNPEN)
Sylvain Petitjean (Inria)
Andreas Rauber (SBA)
Christos Alexakos (ISI)
Fabian Eberle (SBA)
Gabriel David (INESC)
Guenter Koch (HCM)
Pablo Cesar (CWI)
Vera Sarkol (CWI)