Ethical and legal considerations for nutrition virtual coaches

by Davide Calvaresi, Rachele Carli, Jean-Gabriel Piguet, Contreras Ordoñez Victor Hugo, Gloria Luzzani, Amro Najjar, Jean-Paul Calbimonte, and Michael I. Schumacher


Choices and preferences of individuals are nowadays increasingly influenced by countless inputs and recommendations provided by artificial intelligence-based systems. The accuracy of recommender systems (RS) has achieved remarkable results in several domains, from infotainment to marketing and lifestyle. However, in sensitive use-cases, such as nutrition, there is a need for more complex dynamics and responsibilities beyond conventional RS frameworks. On one hand, virtual coaching systems (VCS) are intended to support and educate the users about food, integrating additional dimensions w.r.t. the conventional RS (i.e., leveraging persuasion techniques, argumentation, informative systems, and recommendation paradigms) and show promising results. On the other hand, as of today, VCS raise unexplored ethical and legal concerns. This paper discusses the need for a clear understanding of the ethical/legal-technological entanglements, formalizing 21 ethical and ten legal challenges and the related mitigation strategies. Moreover, it elaborates on nutrition sustainability as a further nutrition virtual coaches dimension for a better society.

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  doi = {10.1007/s43681-022-00237-6},
  url = {},
  year = {2022},
  month = nov,
  publisher = {Springer Science and Business Media {LLC}},
  author = {Davide Calvaresi and Rachele Carli and Jean-Gabriel Piguet and Victor H. Contreras and Gloria Luzzani and Amro Najjar and Jean-Paul Calbimonte and Michael Schumacher},
  title = {Ethical and legal considerations for nutrition virtual coaches},
  journal = {{AI} and Ethics}