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We are excited to bring back our in-person Information Ethics Roundtable conference from March 31 – April 2, 2023. For questions about the IER, please contact Don Fallis ( or Kay Mathiesen (  

19th Annual Information Ethics Roundtable

Ethics and Epistemology of Virtual Reality

March 31-April 2, 2023 

Northeastern University 

Boston, Massachusetts 


Virtual reality is a hot topic both practically and philosophically. In 2021 Mark Zuckerberg announced that the “metaverse” would be the successor to the internet. And in 2022 the philosopher David Chalmers came out with the book Reality+, which champions the value of “simulated life.” Chalmers takes as his starting point the hypothesis that we are likely in a simulation right now and don’t know it. What is certain is that the use of virtual and augmented reality is spreading. Virtual and augmented reality systems are being used in video games, dating, healthcare, job training, military operations, and cultural institutions. While many of these systems are in very early stages, it is imperative that we engage now in serious reflection on their ethical and epistemological ramifications. This conference provides an opportunity for scholars to gather together to reflect on what virtual and augmented reality means for our understanding of ourselves and our society.  

The Information Ethics Roundtable is a yearly conference, which brings together researchers from disciplines such as philosophy, information science, communications, public administration, anthropology and law to discuss the ethical and epistemological issues related to emerging information technologies.  

Keynote Speaker: David Chalmers, Department of Philosophy, NYU 

Location: Northeastern University, Boston, Massachussetts 

March 31, 2023
Cabral Center
40 Leon Street

Apr 1st and 2nd
Renaissance Park 909
1135 Tremont Street

Northeastern Department of Philosophy and Religion
Northeastern Ethics Institute
Northeastern University College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Khoury College of Computer Sciences 

Information Ethics Roundtable conferences are free and open to interested students and scholars. However, we would like to know you are coming so we can have name tags and refreshments available for attendees. Registration deadline is March 30, 2023.  

Register here.

The full conference schedule is below.

Schedule for the Information Ethics Roundtable 2023

The Ethics and Epistemology of Virtual Reality


Friday, March 31 – Cabral Center (John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, 40 Leon Street)

6:00-7:30 Keynote: “From the Matrix to the Metaverse”

Speaker: David Chalmers (New York University), in-person 

7:30-8:30 Reception


Saturday, April 1 – Renaissance Park, Room 909 (1135 Tremont Street)

9:30 Breakfast

9:50 Welcome

10:00-11:00 Keynote [Zoom]: Philip Brey (University of Twente) Title– “Virtual Reality and the Metaverse: From Ontology to Ethics”

Chair: Victoria Violet (University of Oklahoma)

11:00-11:25 Morning Conversation Break

11:25-12:25 “If We’re Living in a Simulation, We’re Probably Massively Deluded”

Speaker: Don Fallis (Northeastern University)

Commentator: Rory Smead (Northeastern University)


12:25-2:25 Lunch at Local Restaurants

2:25-3:25 “Human Suffering and the Simulation Hypothesis”

Speaker: Grace Helton (Princeton University

Commentator: Rami Ali (University of Arizona)


3:25-3:50 Afternoon Conversation Break

3:50-4:50 “Virtual Choices, Genuine Choices, Fictional Choices”

Speaker: Joseph Larse (San Francisco State University)

Commentator: Alexander Zhang (Saint Louis University)

4:50-6:00 Free Time

6:00 Speaker Dinner (By invitation only)


Sunday, April 2 – Renaissance Park, Room 909 (1135 Tremont Street)

9:30 Breakfast

10:00-11:00 “Why We are Almost Certainly Living in a Simulation”

Speaker: Peter Lewis (Dartmouth College)

Commentator: Yonathan Fiat (MIT)

Chair: John Basl (Northeastern University)

11:00-11:25 Morning Conversation Break

11:25-12:25 ”Thinking Through Digital Worlds”

Speaker: Ian Werkheiser (University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley)

Commentator: Matt Smith (Northeastern University)


12:25-1:25 Catered Lunch

1:25-2:25 Keynote [zoom]: “Why We Should Hope We’re Not Living in a Simulation”

Eric Schwitzgebel (University of California, Riverside)

Chair: Cody Turner (Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center)

2:25-2:50 Afternoon Conversation Break

2:50-3:50 ”Privacy in a Virtual World”

Speaker: Kay Mathiesen (Northeastern University)

Commentator: Daniel Barbarrusa (University of Seville)

Chair: Dan Zelinski (Richard Bland College)

3:50-4:00 Round-up and Thanks


Virtual Events

  • February 9, 2021 (will be rescheduled) – Catriona McKinnon, “Should we tolerate climate denial?’ – Revisited?”
  • March 10, 2021 – Josh Simons, “Regulating Informational Infrastructure: Are Facebook and Google utilities for democracy?”
  • April 8, 20201 – Jeff Hancock, “Can AI Mediate Communication? Understanding AI in Human-to-Human Interaction”
  • May 5, 2021 – Silvia Milano, “Epistemic fragmentation and the challenge to civic governance of AI services”

Virtual Events

  • October 19 2020 – Massimo Pigliucci, “The Philosophy of Pseudoscience”
  • November 18, 2020 – Rachel Sterken, Jessica Pepp, and Eliot Michaelson, “On Retweeting”
  • December 16, 2020 – Kevin Zollman, “Conformity, Social networks, and the Emergence of Pluralistic Ignorance”


“Data and Ethics”, University of Illinois

“Transparency and Secrecy”, University of Wisconsin

“Information Ethics and Policy”, University of Washington

“Consumer Health Information”, Bridgewater State College

“Secrecy”, Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association

“Intellectual Property”, Montclair State University

“Privacy”, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts