Conference: Public Governance and Emerging Technologies – Values, Trust, and Compliance by Design

Legal, ethical and social considerations of technology use in public governance

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The conference is organized as a part of the CHAIN project ‘The Role and Responsibilities of Public Actors in Distributed Networks. Transparency, Trust and Legitimacy by Design’, a research project funded by the NWO MVI program ‘Responsible Innovation. Designing for Public Values in a Digital World’. The project aims to rethink and operationalize public values of the democratic rule of law, such as transparency, accountability, trust and legitimacy from a by design perspective and citizen perspective. The project focuses on public governance networks and emerging technologies, with special focus on blockchain. This interdisciplinary project is led by Prof. Jurgen Goossens (Utrecht University, Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice) and co-led by Prof. Esther Keymolen (Tilburg University/TILT). Also see our Call for paper abstracts and panel proposals.

The conference aims to combine expertise from multiple disciplines, such as law, sociology, philosophy, STS, public governance, and computer science, to facilitate discussions and further knowledge about emerging technologies, public values, trust, and compliance by design in public governance. Please find a short description of the conference topic below, and a longer version this document.

Conference topic

In the complex network society, public authority is no longer solely exercised in a unilateral manner but is increasingly also carried out through governance networks of public and private actors. Moreover, public actors are increasingly experimenting with ‘disruptive’ or ‘emerging’ digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, to innovate their public services and administrative decision-making procedures. In doing so, they frequently collaborate with private actors. However, the automatization by algorithmic systems, the networked nature of distributed technologies such as blockchain, and the data-driven use of AI in public governance proliferate hyper-connectivity and hyper-complexity. As a result, these technologies challenge important public values such as transparency and accountability. These evolutions have led to renewed attention for public values, legal compliance, and trust.

These challenges demand high-level academic and societal debates on the legal, social, and ethical implications of the use of emerging technologies in public governance. The conference aims to contribute to this debate by bringing together insights on emerging technologies, public values, trust, and compliance by design. The conference aims to explore and offer guidance on how emerging technologies in public governance might proceed from a promissory idea to development and deployment in a legally, ethically, and socially acceptable way.

Preliminary schedule

The conference will take place in Paushuize, a beautiful historical building in the heart of Utrecht. On Thursday 11 January, the conference will kick-off in the afternoon with a first keynote and networking reception. On Friday 12 January, panel discussions and a second keynote will take place, including lunch and closing reception.

More about the conference topic
Call for paper abstracts and panel proposals

The CHAIN team consists of: Prof. dr. mr. Jurgen Goossens, Prof. dr. Esther Keymolen, Dr. Antonia Stanojević, Charlotte van Oirsouw and Juliette Ermers

Start date and time
End date and time
Paushuize (Kromme Nieuwegracht 49, Utrecht)