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Re-coding Black Mirror

Wednesday January 30th, 2019

Ethical and Societal challenges of digital technologies
Computer science solutions against the misuse of technologies
Technological approaches to prevent Black Mirror's dystopian future


Black Mirror is a British sci-fi series directed by Charlie Brooker portraying a dystopian future emanating from the wide use of digital advancements. Even though Black Mirror’s episodes do not entirely rely on the widespread availability of existing technology, some of the advancements presented are not from such a distant future.

Re-coding Black Mirror aims at creating dialogue and connections between computer, data and social scientists and also activists and privacy advocates that are interested in the societal and ethical implications of digital technologies. In order to address emerging social phenomena from different perspectives, the workshop employs a novel interactive format, where researchers are invited to create futuristic scenarios as the ones depicted in Black Mirror exploring emerging societal and ethical concerns.

It will also be a forum for raising opportunities of networking with scholars from different fields to explore novel research problems that can be relevant to both the web and social science communities.


The workshop will take place on January 30th, 2019 at the La maison des arts (entrance through the main venue), as part of the Computers, Privacy & Data Protection 2019; Data Protection and Democracy Conference (CPDP2019).

More info TBA.

  • 08.30-08.45 - Welcome & Introduction
  • 08:45-09:50 - Session 1 : presentations (15 mins presentation + 5 mins questions)
    "It’s not real, but it helps" – Societal and ethical challenges of robotic care technologies, Roger Søraa.
    Am I talking to a bot or a human? - Transparency in pseudo-AI systems, Claudine Bonneau and Régis Barondeau
    Transparency and performance in dystopian social media environments m Joana Bárbara Fonseca

  • 09:50-10:30 - Coffee break
  • 10:30-11:45 - Session 2 : presentations (15 mins presentation + 5 mins questions)
    Privacy, Security and Trust in the Internet of Neurons, Diego Sempreboni and Luca Viganò
    When Thoughts Betray You: Neural Security and the World of "Black Mirror" , Katherine Pratt
    Smart Humans... WannaDie? , Diego Sempreboni and Luca Viganò

  • 11:45-12:00 - Coffee break
  • 12:00-12:45 - Session 3 : presentations (15 mins presentation + 5 mins questions)
    Academia 4.0: Measuring and Monitoring the Academic Assembly Line, Sven Helmer, David Benjamin Blumenthal and Kathrin Paschen
    Recode We Must. Bringing ambiguity back in , Tasniem Anwar, Rocco Bellanova and Pieter Lagerwaard

  • 12:45-14:15 - Lunch Break
  • 14:15-14:45 - Hands-on session I
    Schroedinger's Man, Diego Sempreboni and Luca Viganò
    Instructions and team-up
  • 14:45-16:30 - Hands-on session II
    Prepare your dystopic sci-fi scenarios

  • 16:30-18:00 - Last session
    Scripts Presentation
    Debate on technological future
    Discussion, final remarks and feedbacks

  • 18:30-20:00 - Conference cocktails


Given the novelty of the workshop format, we welcome submissions addressing two different issues, as explained in the brief summaries below. Possible submissions are not restricted to those examples, but works addressing those scenarios would be very much welcome too. You can also look at the submissions of the Re-coding Black Mirror 2017 and 2018 editions.

How can web technologies enable or minimise scenarios like Black Mirror's episodes?

Works showing how the ongoing research in the web community could enable/lead to dystopic scenarios similar to the ones presented in Black Mirror episodes and also, how it could prevent/minimise such risks. For example:

How could web technologies be used to integrate information about another person from multiple online sources (digital footprinting), providing a mean for stalking or even blackmailing them S03E03 - Shut Up and Dance

How could web technologies be designed to prevent the abuse of user ratings based on the relations between people and information about their network/context? S03E01 - Nosedive

Which societal and ethical concerns emerge from Black Mirror episodes?

Works exploring the societal and ethical concerns emerging from digital technologies as presented in Black Mirror episodes. For example:

How do technological developments impact parental surveillance strategies and consequently the family environment? S04E02 - Arkangel

How does the normalization of surveillance through gamification change individuals' relationship with the surveillance apparatus? S02E02 - White Bear


Please submit your contribution to the workshop by October 1st 2018 (23:59 Hawaii time) through the easychair system.

We accept three categories of submissions:

  • 1) full papers (max 8 pages) on research and applied technologies,
  • 2) short papers (max 4 pages) about visions and positions on forthcoming challenges and
  • 3) abstracts (max 2 pages) on the societal and ethical challenges of the aforementioned technologies.

We expect each paper to take as a starting point one futuristic scenario, either directly from Black Mirror or of a similar nature, as motivation for the work presented. You can also take a look at the Re:coding Black Mirror workshops in 2017 and 2018.

For further information about the workshop and the submission process please send your emails to

PC members

Kirstie Ball, University of St. Andrews

Valerio Basile, Sapienza University of Rome

Luca Belli, FGV Law School

Sara Degli Esposti, Coventry University

Stefan Dietze, University of Leibniz

Heidi Herzogenrath-Amelung, University of Westminster

Timothy Libert, Carnegie Mellon Universit

Kevin Macnish, University of Twente

Andrea Mannocci, The Open University

Diana Miranda, Keele University

Imge Ozcan, Vrije Universiteit Bruxelles

Giuseppe Rizzo, Politecnico di Torino

Angelo Antonio Salatino, The Open University

Diego Sempreboni, Kings College London

Gavin Smith, The Australian National University

Keith Spiller, University of Birmingham

Barry O'Sullivan, University College Cork

Daniel Trottier, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Lachlan Urquhart, University of Nottingham

Rosamunde Vanbrakel, Vrije Universiteit Bruxelles

Luca Viganò, Kings College London



Pinelopi Troullinou

Pinelopi is a Research Assistant at the Data Science Group of the Knowledge Media Institute, Open University (UK). Her research focuses on technology and society and more specifically on the surveillance occurring through the use of personal digital gadgets. Her Ph.D. research addressed issues of the subjective everyday surveillance using as a case study the smartphone devices. She specifically explored young users' articulation of the relationship with their smartphones and the negotiation with their surveillant aspects conducting focus groups with students at British universities and employing the use of visual vignettes. Pinelopi was Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster and Leeds Metropolitan University and Research Assistant for the fp7 project ICT ethics. She has been member of the organizing committee of international conferences, workshops and a summer school. She has presented her work in major conference mainly of the surveillance studies community and is co-editor of a special issue on surveillance and privacy at Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture.


Mathieu d'Aquin

Mathieu is a Professor of Informatics specialised in data analytics and semantic technologies at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics of the National University of Ireland Galway. He was previously Senior Research Fellow at the Knowledge Media Institute of the Open University, where he led the Data Science Group. Hes is leading research and development activities around the meaningful sharing and exploitation of distributed information. He has worked on applying the technologies coming out of his research, especially Semantic Web/Linked Data technologies, in various domains including medicine, education especially through learning analytics, Smart Cities and the Internet of Things, personal data management, etc.


Ilaria Tiddi

is a Research Associate in the Data Science Group of the Knowledge Media Institute of the Open University. The core of her research is the exploitation of knowledge from heterogeneous data sources to improve tasks of intelligent systems, and is particularly focused on 2 application domains: (i) robots in smart cities and (ii) digital humanities. Ilaria was involved in the organisation of a number cross-disciplinary research events, as 2017 edition of Re-coding Black Mirror at ISWC2017, the 2017 Knowledge Capture conference (K-CAP2017), the Semantic Web Summer School (SSSW2015, SSSW2016) and the Linked Data for Knowledge Discovery workshops at ECML/PKDD (LD4KD2014 and LD4KD2015).