Call for proposals for an ICRES Student Workshop

The Utrecht University Special Interest Group “Principles by Design: Towards Good Data Practice”, part of the Governing the Digital Society focus area, is looking for enthusiastic UU master students who wish to participate in the student-led workshop “How do you want to be governed? A multidisciplinary discussion on the pacing of innovation: A ChatGPT case study”, which will take place on the 4th of July 2023, 12:00 – 18:00.

The deadline for the submission of CV & short motivation letter is: 24 May 2023, 9AM. For details, see the brochure. The student workshop will be organized in association with the International Conference on Robot Ethics and Standards (ICRES) that Utrecht University hosts this year. The findings of the workshop’s discussion will also be presented at the ICRES conference.

Theme of the workshop

Should we slow down the development of artificial intelligence? The common phrase “AI today is the stupidest it will ever be” perfectly encompasses AI’s exponential growth. This became increasingly obvious in November 2022 when OpenAI deployed ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot. The ChatGPT template has been adapted to numerous fields in just five months. Its “offspring” has become a virtual therapist (Wysa), and a companion (Snapchat My AI), and its further potential is yet to be seen. What was initially a virtual assistant has increasingly implanted itself into “the human experience” and is continuously learning how to get better. 

Some embrace this rapid innovation, while others call for a halt in development to consider broader societal impacts and facilitate regulation. An open letter by 1000 AI experts called for “a six-month pause in developing systems more powerful than OpenAI’s newly launched GPT-4”. Geoffrey Hinton, a renowned researcher in neural networks and computer science dubbed “the Godfather of AI”, highlighted that the current acceleration of development in an unregulated environment creates opportunities for actors to abuse these technologies. Scepticism surrounding ChatGPT continues to grow as countries and companies ban the chatbot due to privacy concerns. Is this a justified response?

The workshop will bring together Utrecht University master’s students from various disciplines to discuss the topic: Should we pace innovation? The case study of ChatGPT and its by-products. It gives students the opportunity to apply their research to a current societal issue and provide their perspective on the regulation of technology. They will also be given the opportunity to present their findings at the Conference. Moreover, co-author a piece which will be published on the Conference’s official website.

This is a great opportunity for students to learn from other fields, which will be useful for your future employment. They will be able to demonstrate their ability to work in a multidisciplinary team. Moreover, allow them to stand out as students and take the next step in academic research.

For further questions on the student-led workshop, contact the chair of the workshop, Simona Jansonaite at