•  1589
    The idea of Artificial Intelligence for Social Good (henceforth AI4SG) is gaining traction within information societies in general and the AI community in particular. It has the potential to address social problems effectively through the development of AI-based solutions. Yet, to date, there is only limited understanding of what makes AI socially good in theory, what counts as AI4SG in practice, and how to reproduce its initial successes in terms of policies (Cath et al. 2018). This article add…Read more
  •  1585
    Recommender systems and their ethical challenges
    with Silvia Milano and Mariarosaria Taddeo
    AI and Society (4): 957-967. 2020.
    This article presents the first, systematic analysis of the ethical challenges posed by recommender systems through a literature review. The article identifies six areas of concern, and maps them onto a proposed taxonomy of different kinds of ethical impact. The analysis uncovers a gap in the literature: currently user-centred approaches do not consider the interests of a variety of other stakeholders—as opposed to just the receivers of a recommendation—in assessing the ethical impacts of a reco…Read more
  •  1442
    The Ethics of Algorithms: Mapping the Debate
    with Brent Mittelstadt, Patrick Allo, Mariarosaria Taddeo, and Sandra Wachter
    Big Data and Society 3 (2). 2016.
    In information societies, operations, decisions and choices previously left to humans are increasingly delegated to algorithms, which may advise, if not decide, about how data should be interpreted and what actions should be taken as a result. More and more often, algorithms mediate social processes, business transactions, governmental decisions, and how we perceive, understand, and interact among ourselves and with the environment. Gaps between the design and operation of algorithms and our und…Read more
  •  931
    Digital Psychiatry: Ethical Risks and Opportunities for Public Health and Well-Being
    with Christopher Burr, Jessica Morley, and Mariarosaria Taddeo
    IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society 1 (1): 21-33. 2020.
    Common mental health disorders are rising globally, creating a strain on public healthcare systems. This has led to a renewed interest in the role that digital technologies may have for improving mental health outcomes. One result of this interest is the development and use of artificial intelligence for assessing, diagnosing, and treating mental health issues, which we refer to as ‘digital psychiatry’. This article focuses on the increasing use of digital psychiatry outside of clinical settings…Read more
  •  884
    The Ethics of Digital Well-Being: A Thematic Review
    with Christopher Burr and Mariarosaria Taddeo
    Science and Engineering Ethics 1-31. 2019.
    This article presents the first thematic review of the literature on the ethical issues concerning digital well-being. The term ‘digital well-being’ is used to refer to the impact of digital technologies on what it means to live a life that is good for a human being. The review explores the existing literature on the ethics of digital well-being, with the goal of mapping the current debate and identifying open questions for future research. The review identifies major issues related to several k…Read more
  •  883
    This chapter serves as an introduction to the edited collection of the same name, which includes chapters that explore digital well-being from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including philosophy, psychology, economics, health care, and education. The purpose of this introductory chapter is to provide a short primer on the different disciplinary approaches to the study of well-being. To supplement this primer, we also invited key experts from several disciplines—philosophy, psychology, pub…Read more
  •  811
    Healthcare systems across the globe are struggling with increasing costs and worsening outcomes. This presents those responsible for overseeing healthcare with a challenge. Increasingly, policymakers, politicians, clinical entrepreneurs and computer and data scientists argue that a key part of the solution will be ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) – particularly Machine Learning (ML). This argument stems not from the belief that all healthcare needs will soon be taken care of by “robot doctors.” In…Read more
  •  460
    On the morality of artificial agents
    with J. W. Sanders
    Minds and Machines 14 (3): 349-379. 2004.
    Artificial agents (AAs), particularly but not only those in Cyberspace, extend the class of entities that can be involved in moral situations. For they can be conceived of as moral patients (as entities that can be acted upon for good or evil) and also as moral agents (as entities that can perform actions, again for good or evil). In this paper, we clarify the concept of agent and go on to separate the concerns of morality and responsibility of agents (most interestingly for us, of AAs). We conc…Read more
  •  459
    Consciousness, agents and the knowledge game
    Minds and Machines 15 (3): 415-444. 2005.
    This paper has three goals. The first is to introduce the “knowledge game”, a new, simple and yet powerful tool for analysing some intriguing philosophical questions. The second is to apply the knowledge game as an informative test to discriminate between conscious (human) and conscious-less agents (zombies and robots), depending on which version of the game they can win. And the third is to use a version of the knowledge game to provide an answer to Dretske’s question “how do you know you are n…Read more
  •  401
    Who are we, and how do we relate to each other? Luciano Floridi, one of the leading figures in contemporary philosophy, argues that the explosive developments in Information and Communication Technologies is changing the answer to these fundamental human questions. As the boundaries between life online and offline break down, and we become seamlessly connected to each other and surrounded by smart, responsive objects, we are all becoming integrated into an "infosphere". Personas we adopt in soci…Read more
  •  384
    The method of levels of abstraction
    Minds and Machines 18 (3): 303-329. 2008.
    The use of “levels of abstraction” in philosophical analysis (levelism) has recently come under attack. In this paper, I argue that a refined version of epistemological levelism should be retained as a fundamental method, called the method of levels of abstraction. After a brief introduction, in section “Some Definitions and Preliminary Examples” the nature and applicability of the epistemological method of levels of abstraction is clarified. In section “A Classic Application of the Method ofion…Read more
  •  372
    What is A Philosophical Question?
    Metaphilosophy 44 (3): 195-221. 2013.
    There are many ways of understanding the nature of philosophical questions. One may consider their morphology, semantics, relevance, or scope. This article introduces a different approach, based on the kind of informational resources required to answer them. The result is a definition of philosophical questions as questions whose answers are in principle open to informed, rational, and honest disagreement, ultimate but not absolute, closed under further questioning, possibly constrained by empir…Read more
  •  353
    Information ethics, its nature and scope
    Acm Sigcas Computers and Society 36 (2): 21-36. 2006.
  •  352
    Big Data and Their Epistemological Challenge
    Philosophy and Technology 25 (4): 435-437. 2012.
  •  344
    Outline of a theory of strongly semantic information
    Minds and Machines 14 (2): 197-221. 2004.
    This paper outlines a quantitative theory of strongly semantic information (TSSI) based on truth-values rather than probability distributions. The main hypothesis supported in the paper is that the classic quantitative theory of weakly semantic information (TWSI), based on probability distributions, assumes that truth-values supervene on factual semantic information, yet this principle is too weak and generates a well-known semantic paradox, whereas TSSI, according to which factual semantic info…Read more
  •  332
    This is the revised version of an invited keynote lecture delivered at the 1st Australian Computing and Philosophy Conference (CAP@AU; the Australian National University in Canberra, 31 October–2 November, 2003). The paper is divided into two parts. The first part defends an informational approach to structural realism. It does so in three steps. First, it is shown that, within the debate about structural realism (SR), epistemic (ESR) and ontic (OSR) structural realism are reconcilable. It follo…Read more
  •  328
    This article analyses the ethical aspects of multistakeholder recommendation systems (RSs). Following the most common approach in the literature, we assume a consequentialist framework to introduce the main concepts of multistakeholder recommendation. We then consider three research questions: who are the stakeholders in a RS? How are their interests taken into account when formulating a recommendation? And, what is the scientific paradigm underlying RSs? Our main finding is that multistakeholde…Read more
  •  268
    Is Semantic Information Meaningful Data?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2): 351-370. 2005.
    There is no consensus yet on the definition of semantic information. This paper contributes to the current debate by criticising and revising the Standard Definition of semantic Information as meaningful data, in favour of the Dretske-Grice approach: meaningful and well-formed data constitute semantic information only if they also qualify as contingently truthful. After a brief introduction, SDI is criticised for providing necessary but insufficient conditions for the definition of semantic info…Read more
  •  264
    The enduring scandal of deduction: Is propositional logic really uninformative?
    with Marcello D'Agostino
    Synthese 167 (2): 271-315. 2009.
    Deductive inference is usually regarded as being “tautological” or “analytical”: the information conveyed by the conclusion is contained in the information conveyed by the premises. This idea, however, clashes with the undecidability of first-order logic and with the (likely) intractability of Boolean logic. In this article, we address the problem both from the semantic and the proof-theoretical point of view. We propose a hierarchy of propositional logics that are all tractable (i.e. decidable …Read more
  •  263
    The Ethics of Big Data: Current and Foreseeable Issues in Biomedical Contexts
    with Brent Daniel Mittelstadt
    Science and Engineering Ethics 22 (2): 303-341. 2016.
    The capacity to collect and analyse data is growing exponentially. Referred to as ‘Big Data’, this scientific, social and technological trend has helped create destabilising amounts of information, which can challenge accepted social and ethical norms. Big Data remains a fuzzy idea, emerging across social, scientific, and business contexts sometimes seemingly related only by the gigantic size of the datasets being considered. As is often the case with the cutting edge of scientific and technolog…Read more
  •  260
    Against digital ontology
    Synthese 168 (1). 2009.
    The paper argues that digital ontology (the ultimate nature of reality is digital, and the universe is a computational system equivalent to a Turing Machine) should be carefully distinguished from informational ontology (the ultimate nature of reality is structural), in order to abandon the former and retain only the latter as a promising line of research. Digital vs. analogue is a Boolean dichotomy typical of our computational paradigm, but digital and analogue are only “modes of presentation” …Read more
  •  253
    The Philosophy of Information
    Oxford University Press. 2011.
    Luciano Floridi presents a book that will set the agenda for the philosophy of information. PI is the philosophical field concerned with the critical investigation of the conceptual nature and basic principles of information, including its dynamics, utilisation, and sciences, and the elaboration and application of information-theoretic and computational methodologies to philosophical problems. This book lays down, for the first time, the conceptual foundations for this new area of research. It d…Read more
  •  240
    The tripartite account of propositional, fallibilist knowledge that p as justified true belief can become adequate only if it can solve the Gettier Problem. However, the latter can be solved only if the problem of a successful coordination of the resources (at least truth and justification) necessary and sufficient to deliver propositional, fallibilist knowledge that p can be solved. In this paper, the coordination problem is proved to be insolvable by showing that it is equivalent to the ''''co…Read more
  •  231
    Information ethics: On the philosophical foundation of computer ethics (review)
    Ethics and Information Technology 1 (1): 33-52. 1999.
    The essential difficulty about Computer Ethics' (CE) philosophical status is a methodological problem: standard ethical theories cannot easily be adapted to deal with CE-problems, which appear to strain their conceptual resources, and CE requires a conceptual foundation as an ethical theory. Information Ethics (IE), the philosophical foundational counterpart of CE, can be seen as a particular case of environmental ethics or ethics of the infosphere. What is good for an information entity and the…Read more
  •  228
    Four challenges for a theory of informational privacy
    Ethics and Information Technology 8 (3): 109-119. 2006.
    In this article, I summarise the ontological theory of informational privacy (an approach based on information ethics) and then discuss four types of interesting challenges confronting any theory of informational privacy: (1) parochial ontologies and non-Western approaches to informational privacy; (2) individualism and the anthropology of informational privacy; (3) the scope and limits of informational privacy; and (4) public, passive and active informational privacy. I argue that the ontologic…Read more
  •  228
    What is the ultimate nature of reality? This paper defends an answer in terms of informational realism (IR). It does so in three stages. First, it is shown that, within the debate about structural realism (SR), epistemic (ESR) and ontic (OSR) structural realism are reconcilable by using the methodology of the levels of abstractions. It follows that OSR is defensible from a structuralist-friendly position. Second, it is argued that OSR is also plausible, because not all related objects are logica…Read more
  •  216
  •  206
    This Guide provides an ambitious state-of-the-art survey of the fundamental themes, problems, arguments and theories constituting the philosophy of computing.