Tilburg University has appointed Dr. Esther Keymolen to professor in digital technology regulation per 1 April 2022. Dr. With its research, Keymolen will contribute to a conceptual reassessment of key concepts such as responsibility and reliability in the legal domain, which is urgently needed in an increasingly data-driven society.
The rapid development in artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven technologies presents many challenges. For example, the harm caused by AI technologies is often unpredictable because treatment processes are usually opaque, even to AI and machine learning experts. AI is also not an independent technology: it works in a network of actors (companies, users, developers, other technologies). This makes assessing the credibility and assigning responsibility for digital technology a complex task.
The research under the Digital Technology Regulation Chair will focus on how legal concepts of responsibility, accountability and responsibility are shaped in practice within specific social and technological contexts, and how these concepts align with or conflict with other ethical values of stakeholders. trust and reliability.
Bottom-up initiatives by stakeholders (design principles, impact assessments, codes of conduct) to achieve self-regulation receive special attention.
This appointment contributes to one of Tilburg Law School’s four core research programs entitled Regulating socio-technical change, in particular to map the socio-technological context in which regulation is embedded.
The research builds on the ELSA approach: Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technologies, particularly by making findings relevant to the functioning of the legislature, courts and legal practice. By providing conceptual clarity rooted in technological practice, the legal domain (including legal practice) will be better equipped for digital technologies.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Geert Vervaeke, Dean of Tilburg Law School: “We are very pleased with the appointment of Esther as our new professor of digital technology regulation. She has proven to be a very talented scientist with an interdisciplinary perspective in her work, which we are very proud of in research and education at our law school. She is an enthusiastic teacher with a mission to strengthen the techno-ethical knowledge, attitudes and skills of data scientists and all other professionals involved in AI. She has already proven herself to be a true academic with a strong sense of responsibility and a team player who builds bridges within the law school, our university and far beyond. She leads by example when it comes to themes such as Recognition and Appreciation, multidisciplinarity and team science. We are very happy that she has continued her academic career and wants to continue at our university.”
Dr. Esther Keymolen is associate professor in Philosophy of data-driven technology and operates in the intersection between regulation, technology philosophy and politics at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society (Tilburg Law School). She also holds the position of deputy dean for research at Tilburg Law School.
Keymolen has a background in the philosophy and ethics of technology and postphenomenology. As a research fellow, she worked for the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). She also has a bachelor’s degree in pop music.
Her research focuses on the role of trust and privacy in data-driven environments, with a specific interest in the role and responsibility of public actors in both the use and regulation of data-driven technologies such as AI and automated decision-making systems. She has developed a conceptual model of trust, which she uses to analyze various current cases, such as platforms in the sharing economy, smartphones used as hotel keys, smart toys and personalized online advertising. Keymolen’s work has been published in leading journals in regulation and technology, philosophy of technology and STS. Together with Dr. Jurgen Goossens, she leads a four-year NWO-MVI blockchain project: The Role and Responsibilities of Public Actors in Distributed Networks Transparency, Trust and Legitimacy by Design.