A Look back at the Workshop Technological Innovations addressing cognitive vulnerability: scientific and ethical challenge.

On Friday, June 23, 2023, ISEP and ICP organized the workshop entitled Technological Innovations Addressing Cognitive Vulnerability: Scientific and Ethical Challenges. 

The Digital and Citizenship Chair (DCC) mission’s is to deliberate and act to ensure that digital technology serves human beings, and to prevent its transformation into a medium of transience or alienation. The DCC is actively engaged in four areas: law and artificial intelligence | ethics, freedom, and judgment | digital knowledge and philosophy| education and pedagogy. These actions take the form of thematic seminars, workshops, research and development activities, and teaching activities. For two years, the Chair has benefited from a partnership with the Anne de Gaulle Foundation (FADG). The aim was: to reflect on the relationship between digital technology and its uses for vulnerable or dependent individuals. 

The workshop featured a series of presentations, providing an opportunity to assess two years of research at the DCC. 

After an introduction by Mrs. Aline Aubertin, General Director of Isep, Prof. Lionel Trojman, Director of Research at ISEP, and Prof. Vincent Puig, Director of the Institute for Research and Innovation at the Centre Pompidou and the Scientific Delegate of the DCC in behave of ICP, Mr. Puig presented the two years of work conducted in the Conceptual Fields during the workshop titled “Digital Care – Towards a New Sharing of Vulnerabilities”. Initiated at the beginning of 2021 with the support of the FADG, the workshop aimed to reexamine the challenges surrounding human vulnerability and disability considering the new vulnerabilities introduced by digital technology. Its objective was to explore new possibilities and create an inclusive framework that empowers disabled audiences. This workshop was an opportunity to reflect on how technology can be responsible and desirable, as well as an assessment of how we can collectively take care of it. The question was: how can we go beyond simply “using” digital technology and instead prioritize its care? 

Following that, Prof. Ammar Kheirbek (the Scientific Delegate of the DCC in behave of ISEP), Prof. Yousra Chabchoub, and Prof. Zakia Kazi, lecturers and researchers at ISEP, presented their findings from two years of research conducted in the Invested Technological Fields. They shared the student projects and internships that have taken place over the past two years in partnership with the FADG. These projects were based on five research themes: Indoor localization using VLC (Visible Light Communication) | Tools and methods to aid communication and planning | Spatio-temporal trajectory analysis | Knowledge management and ontology | AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication. 

Mrs. Corinne Bebin, a previous head of several associations or foundations with over than 30 years of experience in managing clinical consultations, medico-social institutions, federations of parents’ associations, and training in neurocognitive disorders, then presented the consortium’ project that empowers vulnerable individuals, especially those with cognitive disorders, to co-create technological tools to enhance their autonomy. This consortium will take the form of collaborative research and innovation activities based on issues put forward by the partners and dealing with the societal and ethical aspects of digital transformations to help humanizing the process. 

The morning session ended with a talk by Prof. Yannick Courbois, Head of the “Development and Disability” Unit at the PSITEC Laboratory, University of Lille, who presented his laboratory’s research into cognitive psychology and mobility aids, and Prof. Sophie Sakka, University Professor at the National Higher Institute for Training and Research for the Education of Young Disabled Persons and Special Education (INSEI), about robotic mediations using the robot approach as a research methodology extension. 

The afternoon was dedicated to the medico-social sector. After a presentation of the sector by Mrs. Corinne Bebin, Mr. Frédéric Frambot, Director of the ATYPIC Agency and communications for the Papillons Blanc de la Colline association, described how the ESAT (supported employment) expressed the potential assistance needs of recent technologies. This was followed by a presentation delivered by Pavlina Skarmoutsou, clinical psychologist, and Christelle Le Coz, socio-educational manager since 2013, who discussed the Snoezelen approach implemented at the Cités Caritas disability centre. The presentation highlighted the importance of sensory aspects in providing support for individuals with cognitive disorders. Dr. David Orlikowski, neurologist, and intensive care physician, specializing in neuromuscular diseases, then presented the research evaluation methodology for health technologies, incorporating the living lab aspect. 

The workshop ended-up with a round-table discussion aimed at defining the strategic directions and operational prospects for the DCC.