[How] Can Pluralist Approaches to Computational Cognitive Modeling of Human Needs and Values Save our Democracies?

Soheil Human, Gustaf Neumann, Markus F. Peschl

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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In our increasingly digital societies, many companies have business models that perceive users’ (or customers’) personal data as a siloed resource, owned and controlled by the data controller rather than the data subjects. Collecting and processing such a massive amount of personal data could have many negative technical, social and economic consequences, including invading people’s privacy and autonomy. As a result, regulations such as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have tried to take steps towards a better implementation of the right to digital privacy. This paper proposes that such legal acts should be accompanied by the development of complementary technical solutions such as Cognitive Personal Assistant Systems to support people to effectively manage their personal data processing on the Internet. Considering the importance and sensitivity of personal data processing, such assistant systems should not only consider their owner’s needs and values, but also be transparent, accountable and controllable. Pluralist approaches in computational cognitive modelling of human needs and values which are not bound to traditional paradigmatic borders such as cognitivism, connectionism, or enactivism, we argue, can create a balance between practicality and usefulness, on the one hand, and transparency, accountability, and controllability, on the other, while supporting and empowering humans in the digital world. Considering the threat to digital privacy as significant to contemporary democracies, the future implementation of such pluralist models could contribute to power-balance, fairness and inclusion in our societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165 - 180
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 102001 Artificial intelligence
  • 102015 Information systems
  • 505002 Data protection
  • 603122 Philosophy of technology
  • 504028 Sociology of technology
  • 501011 Cognitive psychology

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