Research Topic

Artificial Intelligence and Digital Addiction

About this Research Topic

There is a growing concern about people's relationship with technology. We define digital addiction (DA) as a problematic relationship with technology characterized by properties like compulsive, obsessive, impulsive, and hasty digital behavior, which can be harmful to the users and their social circle e.g. reduced academic performance and poor parenting. That the World Health Organization (WHO) recently recognized gaming disorder motivates for further research into the understanding of DA and into finding solutions for combating it. Most research in this area has focused on users' psychology and their social and personal context that facilitates DA. However, very few studies have examined how artificial intelligence (AI) contributes to DA, e.g. through the creation of immersive and personalized spaces and in catching user attention constantly. Such a potential responsibility of AI can raise ethical and professional issues, especially when considering certain user groups that are more vulnerable, e.g., those with poor impulse control, anxiety, and low self-esteem. At the same time, the power of AI can be utilized to help people gain more control over their usage patterns and help their digital wellbeing, e.g. through early warning and timely recommendations and tips.

The aim of this Research Topic is to examine the dual role of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital addiction (DA); one the one hand, it aims to examine the excessive attraction of people's attention and their increasing preoccupation with technology to the extent that it can be seen as harmful. On the other hand, it aims to look at the positive role that AI can play in combating DA, e.g. through intelligent and personalized interfaces and precautionary and corrective actions. We recognize the primary role of users and their personal and social context in their addictive usage styles and, in general, we do not assume the central function of AI in digital addition (DA). We do, however, hypothesize an impact that AI might have as a facilitator for DA and we want to bring questions about this impact into the conscious zone of AI researchers and practitioners so that it becomes a key component of their ethical and professional decision-making processes. Equally, we consider that unlike traditional mediums for addictive behavior like alcohol and tobacco, technology offers a unique opportunity to AI-based solutions to combat problematic online behavior in real-time and even proactively by monitoring digital behavior and providing personalized recommendations, interfaces, and interventions.

This Research Topic examines artificial intelligence (AI) in the broader sense, including applications in user modelling and design for immersive online spaces and predictive modelling. Similarly, it looks at digital addiction (DA) in a broad sense including a wide range of problematic experiences with digital media such as fear of missing out, procrastination, and hasty online actions that can, to a degree, harm the user and their social circle.

We are interested in both theory and practice papers on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) as a facilitator and solution for digital addiction (DA) and topics can include:

• The concept of DA and the role of AI in it
• The psychological underpinning of DA used in current AI designs
• Intelligent interfaces and human-computer interaction (HCI) and their relation to DA
• The future of AI in immersive technology
• User modelling and addictive user experience
• Behavior analytics and DA
• Attention-grabbing design
• Affective design and DA
• Fear of missing out
• Explainable AI and informed user experience
• Ethical and professional issues


Keywords: Digital Addiction, Games Addiction, Artificial Intelligence, Immersive Design, Digital Wellbeing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

There is a growing concern about people's relationship with technology. We define digital addiction (DA) as a problematic relationship with technology characterized by properties like compulsive, obsessive, impulsive, and hasty digital behavior, which can be harmful to the users and their social circle e.g. reduced academic performance and poor parenting. That the World Health Organization (WHO) recently recognized gaming disorder motivates for further research into the understanding of DA and into finding solutions for combating it. Most research in this area has focused on users' psychology and their social and personal context that facilitates DA. However, very few studies have examined how artificial intelligence (AI) contributes to DA, e.g. through the creation of immersive and personalized spaces and in catching user attention constantly. Such a potential responsibility of AI can raise ethical and professional issues, especially when considering certain user groups that are more vulnerable, e.g., those with poor impulse control, anxiety, and low self-esteem. At the same time, the power of AI can be utilized to help people gain more control over their usage patterns and help their digital wellbeing, e.g. through early warning and timely recommendations and tips.

The aim of this Research Topic is to examine the dual role of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital addiction (DA); one the one hand, it aims to examine the excessive attraction of people's attention and their increasing preoccupation with technology to the extent that it can be seen as harmful. On the other hand, it aims to look at the positive role that AI can play in combating DA, e.g. through intelligent and personalized interfaces and precautionary and corrective actions. We recognize the primary role of users and their personal and social context in their addictive usage styles and, in general, we do not assume the central function of AI in digital addition (DA). We do, however, hypothesize an impact that AI might have as a facilitator for DA and we want to bring questions about this impact into the conscious zone of AI researchers and practitioners so that it becomes a key component of their ethical and professional decision-making processes. Equally, we consider that unlike traditional mediums for addictive behavior like alcohol and tobacco, technology offers a unique opportunity to AI-based solutions to combat problematic online behavior in real-time and even proactively by monitoring digital behavior and providing personalized recommendations, interfaces, and interventions.

This Research Topic examines artificial intelligence (AI) in the broader sense, including applications in user modelling and design for immersive online spaces and predictive modelling. Similarly, it looks at digital addiction (DA) in a broad sense including a wide range of problematic experiences with digital media such as fear of missing out, procrastination, and hasty online actions that can, to a degree, harm the user and their social circle.

We are interested in both theory and practice papers on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) as a facilitator and solution for digital addiction (DA) and topics can include:

• The concept of DA and the role of AI in it
• The psychological underpinning of DA used in current AI designs
• Intelligent interfaces and human-computer interaction (HCI) and their relation to DA
• The future of AI in immersive technology
• User modelling and addictive user experience
• Behavior analytics and DA
• Attention-grabbing design
• Affective design and DA
• Fear of missing out
• Explainable AI and informed user experience
• Ethical and professional issues


Keywords: Digital Addiction, Games Addiction, Artificial Intelligence, Immersive Design, Digital Wellbeing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

14 December 2020 Manuscript
17 January 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

14 December 2020 Manuscript
17 January 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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