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TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University


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Public Discourse & Social Media

Enabling Constructive Public Discourse on Social Media

We rely on (social) media to enhance our knowledge of important events, people, institutions, and issues beyond our local communities. This makes us vulnerable to difficult-to-detect epistemic injustices committed by ICT media even when we make efforts to be intellectually humble. This insight prompts the proposal’s central question: Which ICT topologies best foster constructive public discourse about important and controversial issues, and which most hinder it? Measles, mumps, and rubella (among other infectious diseases) are making a comeback in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. Responding to this threat requires acceptance of aggressive vaccination programs, but such programs face resistance from people (especially parents) impressed by anti-vaccine campaigns and conspiracies. Such campaigns and conspiracies fester on social media, and public discourse about them is frequently more sound-and-fury than reasoned dialogue. Representing all four of the TUs, this project brings together experts in ICT-ethics (Alfano, Cunningham) with experts in bioethics and public health (Verweij, Boenink) and an expert in algorithms and data visualization (Speckmann). The workshop will be aimed at ICT researchers in academia and industry, data ethicists, and policy-makers.

Dr. Mark Alfano (main contact), Associate Professor, Ethics & Philosophy of Technology, TU-Delft,, +31 638691845

Dr. Scott Cunningham, Associate Professor, Multi-Actor Systems, TU-Delft

Prof. Bettina Speckman, Professor, Mathematics & Computer Science, TU-Eindhoven

Prof. Marcel Verweij, Professor, Philosophy, Wageningen U

Dr. Marianne Boenink, Assistant Professor, Philosophy, U-Twente