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On the Ethics of Making Technology Addictive


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Vikram Bhargava, assistant professor of management Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business, will discuss the new ethical concerns raised by the common practice of companies purposefully designing addictive websites.

While many ethical issues surround the practices of Internet and social media businesses (e.g, their role in creating intellectual echo chambers, radicalizing terrorists, manipulating global geopolitical events, etc.), in this Ethics at Noon session, we will focus on the fact that internet companies commonly design their websites to be addictive. Join us as we explore the unique ethical concerns raised by addictive websites, including:
What is the difference between making a product more attractive versus more addictive? What are the specific ethical issues raised by social media platforms that are not raised by the sale of other addictive products such as alcohol and cigarettes? Is there a distinctive kind of ethical wrongdoing involved when Internet companies aim to make their products more addictive?