Ambient intelligence and problems with interferring desires from behaviour

Johnny Hartz Søraker, Philip A.E. Brey

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In this paper the authors argue that many of the ethical problems raised by Ambient Intelligence stems from presupposing a behaviourist conception of the relation between human desires and behaviour. Insofar as Ambient Intelligence systems take overt, natural behaviour as input, they are likely to suffer from many of the same problems that have fuelled the widespread criticism of behaviourist explanations of human behaviour. If these limitations of the technology are not sufficiently recognized, the technology is likely to be insufficiently successful in supporting the needs and desires of human users. We will focus on four distinct challenges that result from this behaviourist presupposition, all of which ought to be taken into consideration at the design stage: reciprocal adaptation, bias towards isolated use, culture-specific behaviour, and inability to manually configure the system. By considering these issues, our purpose is to raise awareness of the ethical problems that can arise because of intelligent user interfaces that rely on natural, overt behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
JournalInternational review of information ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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