[Online conference] Law and ethics of artificial intelligence in the public sector: From principles to practice and policy

10 - 11 March 2022
  • Starts at: 10:00h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: Online (Zoom)
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  •   Register

On 10–11 March 2022, the Asser Institute is organising an interdisciplinary conference on ‘Law and Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: From Principles to Practice and Policy’. To register for this event, click here.

The conference will address the multiple challenges raised by the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the public sector. As AI is progressively deployed in various domains such as healthcare, energy, welfare, border security, criminal justice, law enforcement, and defence, it is essential to ensure that the development and use of AI technologies are guided by core values, in particular the rule of law and human rights.

In recent years, the rapid progress of AI capabilities has been accompanied by a growing recognition of the need to proactively reflect on its societal implications, so as to shape the development and applications of technology in line with ethical and legal principles. Public and private institutions alike have called for a fundamental examination on the potential impacts of AI, in order to guide AI research and policy towards beneficial outcomes, and to ultimately maintain agency over the technologies we decide to adopt.

Unfettered deployment of AI has already led to unintended consequences notably in terms of discrimination, privacy, due process, transparency, and accountability. Current debates on autonomous weapons systems, the use of facial recognition in public spaces, risk-assessment algorithms in the judicial system, or automated detection of welfare fraud, demonstrate that the implementation of data-driven policy-making and algorithmic decision-making in the public sector is a highly topical and important issue. The potentially promising and seemingly less controversial applications of AI for instance to improve healthcare or energy management should as well be the subject of close reflection and scrutiny, as they are not exempt from risks and human rights concerns.

The conference will result in an interdisciplinary dialogue aimed at generating insights on the principles, conditions, and methods that would facilitate the responsible deployment of AI in the public sphere. In order to develop solutions to the pressing challenges of AI, the ethical, legal, technical, and policy aspects must be addressed together. Indeed, both the bedrock of ethical values such as human dignity and individual autonomy, and fundamental legal norms in particular human rights, need to be translated and assimilated into the design and engineering of AI systems. The conference will thereby build necessary bridges between ethics, law, and engineering, and further seek to operationalise principles into practice and policy.


Thursday 10 March 2022

10:00–10:30     Opening
10:30–12:00     Algorithmic Decision Making in Public Administration

  • The Delegation Theory and Individual Administrative Decision-Making in the Algorithmic Era - Maxime Evrard and Steven Van Garsse (University of Hasselt)
  • AI in Public Administration – a Road to the Technological Authoritarianism? - Jacek Piecha (University of Warsaw) 
  • Reasoned Administration in the Age of AI: The Obligation to Give Reasons and Automation of Public Administration in the EU - Michèle Finck (University of Tübingen) and Melanie Fink (Leiden University) 
    Chair: Giovanni Sileno (University of Amsterdam)

13:00–14:30     Approaches to Regulation and Accountability

  • Regulating the Spy Bot: the Australian Legal Experience and Autonomous Espionage Systems - Brendan Walker-Munro (University of Queensland)
  • When Urgency Creates Ignorance - How the Legislator Has and Has Not Approached Official Accountability for Automated Decision-Making in Finland and Denmark - Hanne Hirvonen (University of Helsinki)
  • Approaches to Ethnical Artificial Intelligence: An Analysis of Chinese Awareness, Discourses and Practices - Guangyu Qiao-Franco (Centre for War Studies, University of Southern Denmark)
  • Aristotle in the Times of Trustworthy Computing: Benevolence and the EU Approach to Legal Regulation of AI Systems - Marcin Rojszczak and Bartłomiej Skowron (Warsaw University of Technology)
    Chair: Carl Emilio Lewis (Asser Institute)

15:00–16:30    Data and Discrimination

  • Big Tech and Health: Does Informed Consent Still Protect Against Data-Related Harms? - Tjaša Petročnik (TILT/TILEC, Tilburg Law School)
  • Facing Algorithmic Bias for Inclusive Healthcare: Legal And Ethical Challenges of Data Donation - Giulia Re Ferrè (University of Milan)
  • Using Special Category Data to Prevent Discrimination: Does the GDPR Need a New Exception? - Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius and Marvin van Bekkum (Radboud University)
  • Exploring the Role of Data Protection Impact Assessments in the Use of Facial Recognition Technologies: From An Accountability Tool to the Mode of Regulation - Eyup Kun (KU Leuven Center for IT & IP Law (CiTiP))
    Chair: Machiko Kanetake (Utrecht University)

Friday 11 March 2022

10:30–12:00     Responsible AI in Research, Education, and Work

  • Responsible Research and Innovation Framework for the Digital Age - Shiri Krebs and Jayson Lamchek (Deakin Law School)
  • Responsible AI to Improve Personalized Learning in Helsinki’s Vocational Education - Bruna de Castro e Silva (Tampere University)
  • AI Systems for Occupational Safety and Health: From Ethical Concerns to Limited Legal Solutions - Sophie Weerts, Dana Naous, Maéva El Bouchikhi (Gasser) (University of Lausanne), Christine Clavien (University of Geneva), Tobias Mettler (University of Lausanne)
    Chair: Sadjad Soltanzadeh (Asser Institute)

13:00–14:30    AI in Police, Justice, and Security

  • Implementation of AI in International Courts and Tribunals: Challenges and Opportunities - Sarah Zarmsky (University of Essex) and Maroi Kouka (Université Paris 8)
  • AI in Support of Law Enforcement: Does it Support Society Too? - María López Belloso (University of Deusto), Borja Sanz Urquijo (University of Deusto), Eduard Fosch-Villaronga (Leiden University)
  • How AI Technologies Affect Criminal Liability Frameworks - Alice Giannini (University of Florence & Maastricht University)
  • Accountability Principles for Artificial Intelligence (AP4AI) in the Internal Security Domain - Ruth Linden (Europol)
    Chair: Berenice Boutin (Asser Institute)

14:30–15:00     Closing Discussion
15:30–18:00     Reception at the Asser Institute for speakers & invited guests

The conference is organized online (Zoom).

Participants located in or near The Hague are invited to come for a networking reception after the conference on Friday 11 March 2022 at 15:30. Registration for the reception is mandatory by RSVP to dilema@asser.nl (indicating ‘Reception AI in the Public Sector’ in the subject line).


The conference is convened by:


This initiative received financial support from the KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) under the Academy Early Career Partnerships Awards.