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Call for Papers: The Regulation of New Technologies

Published: 03rd December 2019 Last updated: 03rd December 2019

The Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society ("TILT") is organizing the third edition of its annual PhD Colloquium on "The Regulation of New Technologies" which will take place at Tilburg University on 11 June 2020.

The organizers invite PhD researchers working on any of the themes covered by this Call for Papers ("CfP") to submit an abstract of max. 300 words by 28 February 2020.

1. Theme

Technological progress provides humanity with innovations that can serve us, but which may also have unexpected and unintended effects. Technology typically disrupts by providing for new forms of interaction, new types of mobility and transportation, or new forms of energy generation. Further, for the first time in human history we will live and work together with 'artifacts' - robots, artificial intelligence in many forms, such as (chat) bots and drones - that are not human or animal, but increasingly autonomous, intelligent and self-learning.

These new applications of technologies are often accompanied with uncertainty as to their long-term effects. As technology develops, so do societal perceptions of technology and the desired regulatory response thereto. Societies and the citizens that live in them, have different collective and individual preferences in terms of the amount of uncertainty and the type of risk that they are willing to accept. This development raises fundamental questions: how do we ensure that we align technology with human values as well as possible? Are we, as humanity, actually aware of what we think is important - and do we agree? How do we ensure that the digital world becomes even better than the analog world: for the individual, society and our planet? Or will this technology prove to be a "devil in device"?  The way in which regulation can address these differing, and sometimes conflicting, societal objectives remains a crucial question of legal research. New technologies also raise questions about the boundaries of the law as the line between harmful and beneficial effects often becomes difficult to draw. Societal acceptance of new technologies is essential to making them a success.

The general theme of the PhD Colloquium is the "Regulation of New Technologies" and the organizers invite applications from PhD researchers working on any of the following general topics:

  • a) The regulation of a specific new technology in the field of (public) health, artificial intelligence and machine learning, automated driving, biometrics, data protection, cybersecurity, freedom of expression,  the "internet of things", 3D metal printing, energy and the environment (including climate change);
  • b) The regulation of technology from a more theoretical perspective; i.e. projects that deal with the broader underlying aspects of regulation such as legitimacy, responsibility trust, democracy, uncertainty, risk, precaution, competition, intellectual property, trade and  innovation;
  • c) Regulatory processes: how is new technology regulated in a democratic society and how can regulators ensure continuing legitimacy of regulation. Should citizens be involved in decision-making processes governing highly complex technical issues, and if so, how? What role does standardization play in this regard?

In particular, the organizers welcome contributions analyzing the role of social sciences and humanities for the development and construction of reliable and social technology.

2. Submission of Papers

Interested PhD researchers are invited to submit an abstract of max. 300 words and 5 keywords by 28 February 2020 via Easychair:
Only one abstract per person will be considered. Abstracts should be accompanied by a CV, indicating the researcher's affiliation and list of publications.

The results of the selection process will be announced on 15 March 2020. Selected participants are expected to submit a paper based on the abstract by 20 May 2020. The paper should be limited to 6.000 words max. Upon receipt, the paper will be reviewed by at least one Senior TILT member.
The PhD Colloquium will be organized based on a Panel-format, with each speaker being requested to present for 15 minutes. The Panel sessions will be chaired by TILT experts. Alongside the Panel sessions, one or more plenary sessions will be organized.

3. Logistics

TILT provides funds for travel and accommodation for accepted PhD researchers from outside The Netherlands (up to 300 Euro for researchers within the EU and up to 800 Euro for researchers from outside the EU). Travel funding is subject to submission of the paper by the deadline of 20 May 2020 and participation in the colloquium on 11 June 2020. Questions can be addressed to and