Worshops, Seminars and Conferences

The group’s exchanges take place at regular internal workshops and seminars. In principle, these events are only open for our members and are therefore not advertised on the website.
We also organize events that are more broadly open for external parties to participate. You will find any information regarding these events below and on the website’s homepage.

Next event:

Dr Guido Noto La Diega  – Internet of Things and the Law: Legal Strategies for Consumer-Centric Smart Technologies

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.

Our past public events:

Aurore Troussel – The normative power of dominant digital platforms

On the 12th of October, we had the chance to host Aurore Troussel for a workshop dedicated to the presentation of her research on the normative power of dominant digital platforms.

The event was organized in collaboration with the research project PROSEco.

The normative power of dominant digital platforms
The past decades are characterized by the meteoric rise of digital platforms. Simultaneously, the number of scandals involving platforms increased and raised growing concerns about the unchecked power of these companies. Beyond the conventional threats posed by platforms and identified by the literature (e.g., platforms’ monopoly, fake news, personal data breaches, etc.), platforms are transforming our relations to the law and the regulation overall. This phenomenon is more subtle than the above-mentioned glaring issues, however it is at least equally important in relation to the rule of law. The analysis of the balance of powers between governments and digital platforms shows that a competition between States’ regulation and platforms’ regulation emerges. This phenomenon is of particular importance and needs to be documented. To understand how digital platforms are regulating cyberspace, it is necessary to analyze their architecture, tools, and behavior. This presentation sheds some light on the normative power of dominant digital platforms by providing an overview of their governance tools.

About Aurore Troussel
Aurore Troussel is a PhD student in law and innovation at the University of Montreal and HEC Paris. Her thesis focuses on the normative value of computer code and digital platforms. Aurore works as an affiliated researcher at the Cyberjustice Laboratory (Canada), where she mainly works on the development of machine learning algorithms for the analysis of court decisions. Aurore also works for the SMART Law Hub, a research laboratory in law and artificial intelligence hosted by HEC Paris and Institut Polytechnique. Aurore is qualified at the Paris Bar and specializes in data protection and competition law. She holds a master’s degree in European business law from Panthéon-Assas University and an LLM in law and international management from HEC Paris. During her training, Aurore had several professional experiences, including internships at the European Commission (competition law), in international law firms (Norton Rose Fulbright and Steptoe & Johnson), and in lobbying. In addition, Aurore worked as a legal counsel for an online dispute resolution start-up (justice.cool) for one year.

Aurore Troussel

Presentation of the book ‘The Economics of Platforms – Concepts and Strategy’ – by its author: P. Belleflamme.

On the 15th of June, we had the chance to host Paul Belleflamme for a workshop dedicated to the presentation of its last book: The Economics of Platforms. 

Book description

Digital platforms controlled by Alibaba, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Tencent and Uber have transformed not only the ways we do business, but also the very nature of people’s everyday lives. It is of vital importance that we understand the economic principles governing how these platforms operate. This book explains the driving forces behind any platform business with a focus on network effects. The authors use short case studies and real-world applications to explain key concepts such as how platforms manage network effects and which price and non-price strategies they choose. This self-contained text is the first to offer a systematic and formalized account of what platforms are and how they operate, concisely incorporating path-breaking insights in economics over the last twenty years.

About Paul Belleflamme:

Paul Belleflamme graduated in economics at the University of Namur (1991), where he received his doctoral degree in economics (1997). He also holds a Master of Arts in Economics from Columbia University (1992). In 1998, he became lecturer in economics at Queen Mary, University of London, where he obtained a Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) in November 2001. Since September 2002, Paul is professor of economics at UCLouvain, where he is attached to the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) and to the Louvain School of Management (LSM). Between January 2017 and August 2018, Paul took a leave of absence from UCLouvain so as to acquire new experiences; during that period, he was professor at AMSE (Aix-Marseille School of Economics) and visiting professor at Kedge Business School.

Paul’s main research area is theoretical industrial organization, with a special focus on innovation in the digital economy (which is also the main topic of his blog, www.IPdigIT.eu). Paul has published widely in leading economics journals and, with Martin Peitz, is the author of Industrial Organization: Markets and Strategies (Cambridge University Press, 2010 and 2015). Paul is a fellow of the CESifo Research Network. He is associate editor of Journal of Economics, co-editor of E-conomics and managing editor of Regards Economiques. He also served as associate editor of Information Economics and Policy, and of Review of Network Economics.

Paul Belleflamme

Liability for Defective Products in light of Connected Devices

On the 21st of April 2022, DRAILS member Gaelle Fruy presented her research on “Liability for Defective Products in the Light of Connected Devices

Connected devices are now ubiquitous and their use is widespread among consumers. The risks of damage caused by these emerging digital technologies are real and therefore raise the question of the applicability of the Directive 85/374/EEC (“the Product Liability Directive”). Certain inherent characteristics of these technologies bring out the limits of key notions in the current defective product liability regime (such as the definitions of “product”, “default”, “producer”) and question whether the concept of “putting into circulation” remains relevant. A reform at the European level is under way and should be completed in the third quarter of this year. The presentation aims at outlining the risks related to the use of connected devices for consumers and explaining the limits of the current legal framework while commenting on the amendments considered by the European Commission.

Gaelle Fruy

Negotiating the legal status of AI systems in the EU

On the 24th of March 2022, our colleague Diana Mocanu presented her latest paper on the negotiation of the legal status of AI systems in the EU.

In it as we shall see, she discusses the ‘status question’, which concerns the matter of qualifying and categorizing artificial intelligence (AI) systems in legal terms. This question is what the presentation and eponymous article seek to contribute to answering, by proposing negotiation as the method by which an optimal answer to such a question can be arrived at. The parties involved in the negotiation and the terms being negotiated are also penned out, in an attempt to frame the apparently unsolvable theoretical debates into a practical issue of procedural creativity by situating that answer in the EU’s current context, especially with regards to the AI Act proposal.

Diana Mocanu

The impact of deployment of AI technologies in the field of creative industries for copyright and related rights

On the 17th of February from 12.30 to 2pm, the first DRAILS conference of 2022 took place.

Three of our Members – Sari Depreeuw, Alain Strowel & Luc Desaunettes-Barbero – presented their research on AI and copyright in the cultural sector. Over the last few years, AI solutions have indeed been deployed in the cultural and creative sectors to assist or complete the process of creation. The reliance on AI technologies for or during the creative process might yet challenge copyright and/or related rights. Questions arise concerning the use of protected inputs for developing AI technologies or concerning the protection afforded to creative contributors in relation to the outcome of the AI-powered process. Based on several examples, the presentation provided an overview of the current issues and discussed how they could be addressed at the EU level.

Sari Depreeuw
Alain Strowel
Luc Desaunettes-Barbero

Beyond explainability: justifiability and contestability of Algorithmic Decision Systems

On the 1st of June 2021 the 10th and last DRAILS conference planned for the academic year took place.

It was an opportunity to engage in a discussion with Prof. Daniel Le Métayer and Clément Henin based on their paper: “Beyond explainability: justifiability and contestability of Algorithmic Decision Systems”.

In the paper, they point out that explainability is useful but not sufficient to ensure the legitimacy of algorithmic decision systems. They argue that the key requirements for high-stakes decision systems should be justifiability and contestability, highlighting the conceptual differences between explanations and justifications, providing dual definitions of justifications and contestations, and suggesting different ways to operationalize justifiability and contestability.

The article has lately been published in the prestigious AI&Society.

Prof. Daniel Le Métayer
Clément Henin

Présentation des recherches de la Chaire Intelligence artificielle responsable à l’échelle mondiale de l’Université d’Ottawa

Le 19 mai notre dernière conférence publique a été l’occasion d’une présentation des recherches menées au sein de la Chaire Intelligence artificielle responsable à l’échelle mondiale de l’Université d’Ottawa

Céline Castets-Renard (Professeure titulaire à l’Université d’Ottawa, Faculté de droit civil, titulaire de la Chaire Intelligence artificielle, responsable à l’échelle mondiale) et Éléonore Fournier-Tombs (Coordinatrice de la Chaire de recherche sur l’IA responsable dans un contexte mondial à l’Université d’Ottawa) ont présenté leur projet concernant les « Usages de l’Intelligence Artificielle dans la lutte contre la covid-19 au Sénégal et Mali »

Anne-Sophie Hulin (Post doc au sein d’ANITI [France] et de l’Université d’Ottawa) présentera un projet de recherche qu’elle conduit sur « les Fiducies de données ».

Céline Castets-Renard
Eléonore Fournier-Tombs
Anne-Sophie Hulin

Open talk around the EU Regulation of AI
With D. De Cicco and C. Helleputte

On the  4th of May DRAILS organized an Open talk around the EU regulation of #AI, presented by DRAILS members and cybersecurity, data, and privacy experts Diletta De Cicco and Charles Helleputte.

For an overview of the subject matter, see the very helpful infographic that they prepared :

New Laws of Robotics – Defending Human Expertise in the Age of AI
With F. Pasquale

On the 1st of April DRAILS was pleased to host its second public event: a discussion around the newly published New Laws of Robotics – Defending Human Expertise in the Age of AI with none other than its author, Frank Pasquale, Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, NY.

Anatomy of an AI System
With R. Bellanova

On the 19th of January, our colleague Rocco Bellanova (USL-B et UvAmsterdam), gave a public presentation focussing on Crawford and Joler’s project from 2018 titled Anatomy of an AI System and published by AI Now Institute and Share Lab. This is a research and artistic project which produced a quite compelling work on “The Amazon Echo as an anatomical map of human labor, data and planetary resources”. It is available at https://anatomyof.ai.

Rocco Bellanova

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