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Start Date

16-8-2018 12:00 AM

Description

Increasingly large volumes of information are becoming available on the Web every day. This information is often retained indefinitely, making the Internet a repository of information with practically an eternal “memory”. Although this is generally an advantage, it can also create new types of privacy or ethical problems for individuals as well as for other entities who may be disproportionally or unduly affected by past information. Compared to the memory of computers, human memory forgets things over time. While forgetting (“memory decay”) is generally considered as an undesirable quality of the human mind, it can in fact be beneficial both to individuals and to societies. For example, when a person misbehaves, the passage of time grants him the “right to be forgotten” by others, thus providing him with a second chance to be a part of the society. In most situations, the value of information is a function of its age: more recent information (which also tends to be retrieved from the human memory easily) is usually more relevant for decision making while older information (which tends to be retrieved from the human memory with difficulty, if at all), often merits less decision weight. However, when retrieving information form the Web for the purpose of decision making, old and new information are equally easily and vividly accessible. The potentially positive effects resulting from the human brain forgetting do not happen if members of the society use the Internet as a omnipresent memory aid to obtain information as raw material for decision making. Even though information from the web may be accompanied by time tags, humans may fail to assign the right weight to information with respect to recency of the news or information. In fact, such scenarios are very common and can be expected to become more common as more and more people use information from the Web to make important decisions (e.g., hiring a job applicant, or hiring a service provider). \ \ In this research, I empirically study the problems associated with weighing of information with respect to time. This allows me to investigate how judgments can be affected by favorable and unfavorable information from different points of time in the past in the course of a typical decision making task. Participants in this study were presented with a scenario about hiring a candidate for a job. They rated the fitness of a candidate based on a set of information items obtained about the candidate from the Web. Although the same set of information items were provided to decision makers, in different experimental conditions, the time tags associated with these information items were manipulated. The preliminary results obtained from the analysis of data from nearly 300 subjects reveals that, as theorized, decision makers fail to adequately factor the age of information in their decision making process. The results have significant implications for theory, practice, and policy making in the domains of online privacy and Internet governance. These implications are explored and discussed.

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Aug 16th, 12:00 AM

The Effect of Age of Information on Its Perceived Usefulness: Implication For “The Right to be Forgotten”

Increasingly large volumes of information are becoming available on the Web every day. This information is often retained indefinitely, making the Internet a repository of information with practically an eternal “memory”. Although this is generally an advantage, it can also create new types of privacy or ethical problems for individuals as well as for other entities who may be disproportionally or unduly affected by past information. Compared to the memory of computers, human memory forgets things over time. While forgetting (“memory decay”) is generally considered as an undesirable quality of the human mind, it can in fact be beneficial both to individuals and to societies. For example, when a person misbehaves, the passage of time grants him the “right to be forgotten” by others, thus providing him with a second chance to be a part of the society. In most situations, the value of information is a function of its age: more recent information (which also tends to be retrieved from the human memory easily) is usually more relevant for decision making while older information (which tends to be retrieved from the human memory with difficulty, if at all), often merits less decision weight. However, when retrieving information form the Web for the purpose of decision making, old and new information are equally easily and vividly accessible. The potentially positive effects resulting from the human brain forgetting do not happen if members of the society use the Internet as a omnipresent memory aid to obtain information as raw material for decision making. Even though information from the web may be accompanied by time tags, humans may fail to assign the right weight to information with respect to recency of the news or information. In fact, such scenarios are very common and can be expected to become more common as more and more people use information from the Web to make important decisions (e.g., hiring a job applicant, or hiring a service provider). \ \ In this research, I empirically study the problems associated with weighing of information with respect to time. This allows me to investigate how judgments can be affected by favorable and unfavorable information from different points of time in the past in the course of a typical decision making task. Participants in this study were presented with a scenario about hiring a candidate for a job. They rated the fitness of a candidate based on a set of information items obtained about the candidate from the Web. Although the same set of information items were provided to decision makers, in different experimental conditions, the time tags associated with these information items were manipulated. The preliminary results obtained from the analysis of data from nearly 300 subjects reveals that, as theorized, decision makers fail to adequately factor the age of information in their decision making process. The results have significant implications for theory, practice, and policy making in the domains of online privacy and Internet governance. These implications are explored and discussed.