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Ethical Aspects of Computational Modelling in Science, Decision Support and Communication

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Harold Fellermann


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The development of data science, the increase of computational power, the availability of the internet infrastructure for data exchange and the urgency for an understanding of complex systems require a responsible and ethical use of computational models in science, communication and decision-making. Starting with a discussion of the width of different purposes of computational models, we first investigate the process of model construction as an interplay of theory and experimentation. We emphasise the different aspects of the tension between model variables and experimentally measurable observables. The resolution of this tension is a prerequisite for the responsible use of models and an instrumental part of using models in the scientific processes. We then discuss the impact of models and the responsibility that results from the fact that models support and may also guide experimentation. Further, we investigate the difference between computational modelling in an interdisciplinary science project and computational models as tools in transdisciplinary decision support.We regard the communication of model structures and modelling results as essential; however, this communication cannot happen in a technical manner, but model structures and modelling results must be translated into a “narrative.” We discuss the role of concepts from disciplines such as literary theory, communication science, and cultural studies and the potential gains that a broader approach can obtain. Considering concepts from the liberal arts, we conclude that there is, besides the responsibility of the model author, also a responsibility of the user/reader of the modelling results.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Füchslin RM, Ambühl J, Faggian A, Fellermann H, Flumini D, Geller A, Hanczyc HH, Klinkert A, Krütli P, Matuttis H, Ott T, Scheidegger S, Schmid GB, Smieszek T, Schneider JJ, Steiner A, Weyland MS

Editor(s): Schneider JJ; Weyland MS; Flumini D; Füchslin RM

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Artificial Life and Evolutionary Computation. WIVACE 2021

Year of Conference: 2021

Pages: 263-293

Print publication date: 22/01/2023

Online publication date: 22/02/2023

Acceptance date: 15/12/2022

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-23929-8_24

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: Communications in Computer and Information Science

ISBN: 9783031239281