Research Group on Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Law & Society (DRAILS)



Research Group on Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Law & Society (DRAILS)


About DRAILS


The DRAILS Research Group or Research Group on Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Law & Society is a joint initiative of the CRIDES and CPDR at UCLouvain and of researchers at USL-Bruxelles which aims at bringing together scholars and experts in the social sciences and the humanities in order to investigate emerging challenges raised by digitalization and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their respective fields of research.

DRAILS works as a multidisciplinary platform of exchanges between its members. The diversity of their fields of expertise (law, philosophy, ethics, economy, sociology, etc.) should allow for a comprehensive apprehension of the different dimensions of digitalization as a societal phenomenon.

Areas under current investigations cover issues raised by platforms (content moderation, deepfakes, fake news, rating systems), Artificial Intelligence (legal status, transparency and explainability, liability), Data (access, portability, profiling), cybersecurity and e-Governance.

The presentations and open discussions on various topics take place at regular workshops and seminars, or at conferences more broadly open to the public and during which DRAILS members present either their research results or novel developments occurring in their fields of expertise.

While its main research focus lies within the fields of social sciences and the humanities, DRAILS is also open to collaborating with experts in computer science, engineering and other scholars in the Science and Technology Sector for a better chance at understanding the digital transformation of society. 

Definition of "Drails" provided by Knight's New Mechanical Dictionary: A Description of Tools, Instruments, Machines, Processes, and Engineering. With Indexical References to Technical Journals (1876-1880.), p. 271.
Definition of “Drails” provided by Knight’s New Mechanical Dictionary: A Description of Tools, Instruments, Machines, Processes, and Engineering. With Indexical References to Technical Journals (1876-1880.), p. 271.


Next event


On the 16th of January (12 – 1 pm), we will have the pleasure of welcoming Dr Guido Noto La Diega as a guest in our Drails workshop series. They will be presenting their latest book, “Internet of Things and the Law: Legal Strategies for Consumer-Centric Smart Technologies”. Our Drails’ member and friend, Gaëlle Fruy, will act as discussant on the occasion, but, as always, the workshop format is open and will allow for everyone who is interested to intervene.

You need to register here.

Internet of Things and the Law: Legal Strategies for Consumer-Centric Smart Technologies is the most comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the legal issues in the Internet of Things (IoT). For decades, the decreasing importance of tangible wealth and power – and the increasing significance of their disembodied counterparts – has been the subject of much legal research. For some time now, legal scholars have grappled with how laws drafted for tangible property and predigital ‘offline’ technologies can cope with dematerialisation, digitalisation, and the internet. As dematerialisation continues, this book aims to illuminate the opposite movement: rematerialisation, namely, the return of data, knowledge, and power within a physical ‘smart’ world. This development frames the book’s central question: can the law steer rematerialisation in a human-centric and socially just direction? To answer it, the book focuses on the IoT, the sociotechnological phenomenon that is primarily responsible for this shift. After a thorough analysis of how existing laws can be interpreted to empower IoT end users, Noto La Diega leaves us with the fundamental question of what happens when the law fails us and concludes with a call for collective resistance against ‘smart’ capitalism.

Dr Guido Noto La Diega is an award-winning Scotland-based Sicily-born academic with a passion for law and technology. They are Associate Professor of Intellectual Property and Privacy Law at the University of Stirling, Faculty of Arts and Humanities. At Stirling, Noto La Diega leads the Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Network SCOTLIN (Scottish Law and Innovation Network); is Deputy Chair of the Faculty’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee; and carries out research at the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance, and Privacy (CRISP). Currently, they are leading the AHRC-DfG-funded international research project ‘From Smart Technologies to Smart Consumer Laws: Comparative Perspectives from Germany and the United Kingdom’, in partnership with the universities of Osnabrück, Warwick, and Bonn. Outside of Stirling, Noto La Diega is Member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on AI and Data in Education and Training, Fellow of the Nexa Center for Internet and Society, Research Associate at the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies, and Co-Convenor of the Open Section of the Society of Legal Scholars, the oldest and largest society of law academics in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Noto La Diega’s main expertise is in Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, and blockchain. Their work is animated by the conviction that the law should be pivotal to human-centric, and socially just sustainable technologies.

Dr Guido Noto La Diega