Research & Publications

Publications

Morgan Luck’s gamer’s dilemma (Ethics Inf Technol 11(1):31-35, 2009) rests on our having diverging intuition when considering virtual murder and virtual child molestation in video games. Virtual murder is seemingly permissible, when virtual child molestation is not and there is no obvious morally relevant difference between the two. I look into competitive games, to expand Rami Ali's dissolution of the dilemma (Ethics Inf Technol 17:267-274, 2015): I argue that when competitors consent to participate in a competition, the rules of the competition supersede everyday moral intuitions. Virtual children cannot be represented as giving consent to be molested because (1) children cannot be represented as giving sexual consent, and (2) consent to be possibly molested cannot be given. This creates a morally relevant difference between murder and molestation.

  • 'Dating through the filters', Social Philosophy and Policy, forthcoming

I explore ethical considerations that might arise from the use of collaborative filtering algorithms in dating apps. Collaborative filtering algorithms can predict the preferences of a target user by looking at the past behavior of similar users. By recommending products through this process, they can influence the news we read, the movies we watch, and more. They are extremely powerful and effective on platforms like Amazon and Google. Recommender systems on dating apps are likely to group people by race, since they exhibit similar patterns of behavior: users on dating platforms seem to segregate themselves based on race, exclude certain races from romantic and sexual consideration (except their own), and generally show a preference for white men and women. As collaborative filtering algorithms learn from these patterns to predict preferences and build recommendations, they can homogenize the behavior of dating app users and exacerbates biased sexual and romantic behavior.

Work in progress

  • a paper on fictional truths in video games, arguing that players have the agency to make fictional facts true while playing a video game
  • a paper on echo chambers, arguing that agents in an echo chamber are blameworthy for the wrong beliefs that they hold because of bad ideology