•  650
    Self-fulfilling Prophecy in Practical and Automated Prediction
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 26 (1): 127-152. 2023.
    A self-fulfilling prophecy is, roughly, a prediction that brings about its own truth. Although true predictions are hard to fault, self-fulfilling prophecies are often regarded with suspicion. In this article, we vindicate this suspicion by explaining what self-fulfilling prophecies are and what is problematic about them, paying special attention to how their problems are exacerbated through automated prediction. Our descriptive account of self-fulfilling prophecies articulates the four elements…Read more
  •  325
    Can we learn from hidden mistakes? Self-fulfilling prophecy and responsible neuroprognostic innovation
    with Mayli Mertens, Michel J. A. M. van Putten, and Marianne Boenink
    Journal of Medical Ethics 48 (11): 922-928. 2021.
    A self-fulfilling prophecy in neuroprognostication occurs when a patient in coma is predicted to have a poor outcome, and life-sustaining treatment is withdrawn on the basis of that prediction, thus directly bringing about a poor outcome for that patient. In contrast to the predominant emphasis in the bioethics literature, we look beyond the moral issues raised by the possibility that an erroneous prediction might lead to the death of a patient who otherwise would have lived. Instead, we focus o…Read more
  •  351
    Worker Well-Being: What It Is, and How It Should Be Measured
    with Indy Wijngaards, Martijn J. Burger, and Job van Exel
    Applied Research in Quality of Life 17 795-832. 2022.
    Worker well-being is a hot topic in organizations, consultancy and academia. However, too often, the buzz about worker well-being, enthusiasm for new programs to promote it and interest to research it, have not been accompanied by universal enthusiasm for scientific measurement. Aim to bridge this gap, we address three questions. To address the question ‘What is worker well-being?’, we explain that worker well-being is a multi-facetted concept and that it can be operationalized in a variety of c…Read more
  •  484
    Presumptuous aim attribution, conformity, and the ethics of artificial social cognition
    Ethics and Information Technology 22 (1): 25-37. 2020.
    Imagine you are casually browsing an online bookstore, looking for an interesting novel. Suppose the store predicts you will want to buy a particular novel: the one most chosen by people of your same age, gender, location, and occupational status. The store recommends the book, it appeals to you, and so you choose it. Central to this scenario is an automated prediction of what you desire. This article raises moral concerns about such predictions. More generally, this article examines the ethics …Read more
  •  419
    This article addresses three questions about well-being. First, is well-being future-sensitive? I.e., can present well-being depend on future events? Second, is well-being recursively dependent? I.e., can present well-being depend on itself? Third, can present and future well-being be interdependent? The third question combines the first two, in the sense that a yes to it is equivalent to yeses to both the first and second. To do justice to the diverse ways we contemplate well-being, I consider …Read more
  •  798
    Just as humans can draw conclusions responsibly or irresponsibly, so too can computers. Machine learning systems that have been trained on data sets that include irresponsible judgments are likely to yield irresponsible predictions as outputs. In this paper I focus on a particular kind of inference a computer system might make: identification of the intentions with which a person acted on the basis of photographic evidence. Such inferences are liable to be morally objectionable, because of a way…Read more
  •  459
    Pulling Apart Well-Being at a Time and the Goodness of a Life
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5 349-370. 2018.
    This article argues that a person’s well-being at a time and the goodness of her life are two distinct values. It is commonly accepted as platitudinous that well-being is what makes a life good for the person who lives it. Even philosophers who distinguish between well-being at a time and the goodness of a life still typically assume that increasing a person’s well-being at some particular moment, all else equal, necessarily improves her life on the whole. I develop a precise statement of thi…Read more