From C-3PO to HAL

Opening The Discourse About The Dark Side of Multi-Modal Social Agents

A hybrid workshop at the ACM CUI 2023 conference

About the Workshop

Communicative bots such as voice assistants, social (ro-)bots, and taskbots are increasingly becoming part of everyday life, with work showing how we integrate these agents in our daily routines while creating emotional bonds with them. As these artificial agents grow in numbers and level of sophistication, so does the number of questions relating to human-agent communication. In particular, these agents raise the question: how do humans relate to artificial entities that are awarded the position of social agent? We aim to address this question in this workshop by focusing on three related questions. First, we ask: how can we identify malicious design strategies – often called dark patterns – in social agents? Secondly: what is the necessity for and the effects of present and future design features, across different modalities and social contexts, in social agents? And lastly: how can we incorporate the findings of the first two questions into the design of social agents?

The workshop is organized into two sessions that are connected through a keynote by Colin Gray on dark patterns in a surveillance capitalistic world. The first session focuses discussing and envisioning emerging threats of (novel) technologies that may require attention to protect users from harmful interactions. In the second session, the participants will be invited to concentrate on discussing design features social agents should include to support user’s agency.

After comparing the results of the discussion the workshop will conclude with provisions for continuing the discussions after the workshop and fostering collaboration among the participants on the topics addressed in the symposium.

This workshop is co-located with the 2023 ACM International Conference on Conversational User Interfaces (CUI 2023). Both the conference and the workshop are to be held in a hybrid format.

If you would like to submit a position paper to this workshop, please visit our Call for Papers page for further details.

Key dates

Submission due
2nd of June, 2023 AoE

Notification sent
14th of June, 2023 AoE

Workshop date
19th of July, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm (UTC+2)

Topics of Interest

  • Persuasive technologies for CUIs
  • Embodied conversational agents
  • Ethical caveats in CUIs and HRI