Narrative Ethics of Personalisation Technologies

  • Wessel Reijers
  • Bert Gordijn
  • Declan O’Sullivan
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 474)


Personalisation of digital content is becoming one of the major focus areas of contemporary research in human-computer interaction. Interactions between humans and computer systems such as information retrieval operations, digital learning and self-monitoring are “tailored” to the needs of the human user. In this paper, we aim to increase our philosophical understanding of personalisation and of its ethical implications. We utilise a framework of ethics of narrative technologies that is based on the narrative theory of Paul Ricoeur to explicate how personalisation processes shape the person and interpersonal relations. We argue that personalisation processes can actively configure the narrative understanding of a person they interact with – by which they can implicitly change or re-enforce a person’s normative worldview. Also, personalisation processes can abstract from the world of action by means of profiling – which can have significant risks with regards to the consistency of a person’s character.


Personalisation Ethics Narrative technologies Ricoeur 



The ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology is funded under the SFI Research Centres Programme (Grant 13/RC/2106) and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wessel Reijers
    • 1
  • Bert Gordijn
    • 2
  • Declan O’Sullivan
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Computing, ADAPT CentreDublin City UniversityDublinIreland
  2. 2.Institute of EthicsDublin City UniversityDublinIreland
  3. 3.School of Computer Science and Statistics, ADAPT CentreTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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