Elissa M. Redmiles: “Learning from the People: Responsibly Encouraging Adoption of Contact Tracing Apps”

"Join us online for the next lecture in our series on Digital Humanism - this time with Elissa M. Redmiles from Microsoft Research. "

Speaker: Elissa M. Redmiles (Microsoft Research)
Speaker: Elissa M. Redmiles (Microsoft Research)

October 20th 2020

  • 17:00 – 18:00 CEST
  • This is an online-only event.
    See description for details.

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About the Event

October 20, 2020
5:00 – 6:00 PM
(17:00) CET


A growing number of contact tracing apps are being developed to complement manual contact tracing. Yet, for these technological solutions to benefit public health, users must be willing to adopt these apps. While privacy was the main consideration of experts at the start of contact tracing app development, privacy is only one of many factors in users’ decision to adopt these apps. In this talk I showcase the value of taking a descriptive ethics approach to setting best practices in this new domain. Descriptive ethics, introduced by the field of moral philosophy, determines best practices by learning directly from the user — observing people’s preferences and inferring best practice from that behavior — instead of exclusively relying on experts’ normative decisions. This talk presents an empirically-validated framework of the inputs that factor into a user’s decision to adopt COVID19 contact tracing apps, including app accuracy, privacy, benefits, and mobile costs. Using predictive models of users’ likelihood to install COVID apps based on quantifications of these factors, I show how high the bar is for these apps to achieve adoption and suggest user-driven directions for ethically encouraging adoption.


Here you can download the slides: Download the slides.


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Learning from the People: Responsibly Encouraging Adoption of Contact Tracing Apps
Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/my_Sm7C_Jt4