Building on the prior workshops on conversational user interfaces (CUIs), we tackle the topic of ethics of CUIs at CHI 2022. Though commercial CUI developments continue to rapidly advance, our scholarly dialogue on ethics of CUIs is underwhelming. The CUI community has implicitly been concerned with ethics, yet making it central to the growing body of work thus far has not been adequately done. Since ethics is a far-reaching topic, perspectives from philosophy, design, and engineering domains are integral to our CUI research community. For instance, philosophical traditions, e.g., deontology or virtue ethics, can guide ethical concepts that are relevant for CUIs, e.g., autonomy or trust. The practice of design through approaches like value sensitive design can inform how CUIs should be developed. Ethics comes into play with technical contributions, e.g., privacy-preserving data sharing between conversational systems. By considering such multidisciplinary angles, we come to a special topic of interest that ties together philosophy, design, and engineering: conversational disclosure, e.g., sharing personal information, transparency, e.g., as how to transparently convey relevant information in a conversational manner, and vulnerability of diverse user groups that should be taken into consideration.

Our workshop on ethics is timely for CUI research in the field of HCI. It will be a critical and collaborative effort in looking backwards and forwards, i.e., consolidating ethics related research of the past and setting the agenda for future CUI research on ethics going forward. This builds on previous CUI workshops exploring theories and methods, grand challenges and future design perspectives and collaborative interactions. To push ahead with a multidisciplinary perspective on ethics in CUIs, we will be:

  • Looking back: Expand on discussions on ethics specifically on CUIs and put together existing, disparate views that implicitly relate to ethics in CUI research thus far.

  • Looking forward: Explore in what ways information disclosure between CUIs and humans should follow transparent communication methods, while being alert to vulnerable and under-served populations that may, e.g., over-disclose personal information or misunderstand CUIs’ transparency cues.

  • Community building: Enlarge our community by consulting philosophers, designers, and engineers to illuminate the next steps on ethics research of CUIs.

Please see our Call for Papers page for details about submitting to the workshop.