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Law and Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: From Principles to Practice and Policy

10 March, 2022 @ 10:00 am 11 March, 2022 @ 5:00 pm

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
13:00–14:30     Approaches to Regulation and Accountability
15:00–16:30    Data and Discrimination

Friday 11 March 2022

10:30–12:00     Responsible AI in Research, Education, and Work
13:00–14:30    AI in Police, Justice, and Security
14:30–15:00     Closing Discussion
15:30–18:00     Reception at the Asser Institute for speakers & invited guests

Full programme TBA

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: