Workshop: Impact of Ubiquitous Digital Technologies & Evolving Societal Norms on Research Ethics

When:  Feb 22, 2023 from 11:00 AM to 05:00 PM (ET)
This project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) [Award # (FAIN) 2124894]

Researchers in a variety of fields, including the biomedical, behavioral, cognitive, educational, and social sciences, have leveraged digital technologies to recruit human participants, to implement interventions, collect and analyze data, and to disseminate findings, a trend that has been amplified during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The scale at and the manner in which information from emerging digital technology can be collected and analyzed for research differ greatly from traditional in-person laboratory experiments. Artificial intelligence is now commonly embedded within smartphone applications. Algorithms and models continuously evolve with the personal information that people provide through their use of digital technologies. The changing landscape in which personal information is collected, analyzed, and shared and people’s changing perceptions regarding personal information raise questions about the suitability of the prevailing ethical framework for research with human participants.

The goal of this virtual workshop is to stimulate thoughtful discussion on the following fundamental research questions:

  1. How do current ethical, legal/regulatory, or social issues, either in degree or kind, address (or not address) the use of digital technologies in human research?;
  2. How have people’s perceptions on sharing personal information changed with the ubiquitous use of digital technologies, and how will it affect the use of digital technology in human research?
  3. How has the ubiquitous use of algorithms—the use of artificial intelligence—in everyday digital technologies, impacted ethical dimensions of human research?
  4. What is the proper ethical framework for addressing uses of digital technologies when conducting research with human participants with a variety of technology literacy and privacy perceptions?