University of Oulu

L. Tuovinen and A. F. Smeaton, "Unlocking the Black Box of Wearable Intelligence: Ethical Considerations and Social Impact," 2019 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC), Wellington, New Zealand, 2019, pp. 3235-3243. doi: 10.1109/CEC.2019.8790173

Unlocking the black box of wearable intelligence : ethical considerations and social impact

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Author: Tuovinen, Lauri1,2; Smeaton, Alan F.1
Organizations: 1Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
2Biomimetics and Intelligent Systems Group, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-10-03


Computational intelligence is making its way into a variety of popular consumer products, including wearable physiological monitors such as activity trackers and sleep trackers. Such products are very convenient for the user, but this convenience is the result of a trade-off that has ethical implications, since in almost all cases it denies the user access to their own raw data underlying the easy-to-understand analyses that the products generate for them. One problem with this is that the user is not made aware of the uncertainty of the conclusions or analyses drawn from the data; another is that it is difficult for the user to reuse his or her data in other contexts, such as to combine data from multiple sources. Even if the user did have full control of the data, this would only solve part of the problem, because most people do not have the special skills required to analyze such data. This overall problem could be solved through collaboration between the data owner and a data analysis expert, though this again introduces further problems, notably that of preserving the data owner’s privacy. In this paper we analyze the aforementioned issues pertaining to the ethics of wearable intelligence, propose possible approaches to handling them, and discuss the potential social impact of the technology if the issues can be successfully overcome.

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ISBN: 978-1-7281-2153-6
ISBN Print: 978-1-7281-2152-9
Pages: 3235 - 3243
DOI: 10.1109/CEC.2019.8790173
Host publication: 2019 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC) 10-13 June 2019, Wellington, New Zealand
Conference: IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: The work of Lauri Tuovinen is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement number 746837. The Insight Centre is funded by Science Foundation Ireland under grant number SFI/12/RC/2289, and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund.
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