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Events Archive - Technological Change and Society Interdisciplinary Research Cluster

January - March 2021

25-26 March 2021 - Zoom

Pricing Technologies and their Economic and Social Consequences
Max Weber Programme Multidisciplinary Research Workshop
PriTech is a two-day online research workshop that emphasizes technological developments in the way prices are calculated, recorded, and communicated, and the way online services are monetized, as well as the social and economic consequences of such developments that cause concerns from various disciplinary and policy perspectives. It is an interdisciplinary event that is meant to bring together economists, lawyers, sociologists, historians, and industry practitioners. 
More information here.

15 March 2021
3-5 pm - Zoom

Technology Frontier Talk: Cooperating with Machines
Speaker: Jacob Crandall (Brigham Young University)
Since Alan Turing envisioned artificial intelligence, technical progress has often been measured by the ability to defeat humans in zero-sum encounters (for example, Chess, Poker or Go). Perhaps less attention has been given to scenarios in which human–machine cooperation is beneficial but non-trivial, such as scenarios in which human and machine preferences are neither fully aligned nor fully in conflict. Cooperation does not require sheer computational power, but instead is facilitated by intuition, cultural norms, emotions, signals and pre-evolved dispositions. In this talk, I will discuss how the way that artificial intelligence is created (by human designers), incentivised (by human regulators) and perceived (by human interactants) impacts its ability to cooperate with people. While the studies and results I will present illustrate how human-machine cooperation is achievable, they also illustrate fundamental challenges that must be addressed and overcome in the development of machines that can effectively cooperate with people.
Jacob Crandall is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, USA. Prior to joining BYU in 2016, he was with the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, a graduate-research university in Abu Dhabi, UAE that was formed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Crandall received the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from BYU in 2001, 2004 and 2006, respectively. From 2006 to 2008 he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. His background and research interests emphasise human–machine cooperation, robotics, machine learning and game theory.
Event memo (PDF)

8 March 2021
2-3 pm - Zoom

Technological disputation on Tim Harford’s statement "State-run algorithms should stay in the realm of science fiction" 
Speakers: Arthur Dolgopolov (EUI - ECO) and Philip Hanspach (EUI - ECO)

1 March 2021
1.30-2 pm - Zoom

"Digital coffee meeting": Assessing restrictions on cross-border data flows in trade policy
Speaker: Martina Ferracane (EUI - RSC)
The talk will provide a general overview on how regulations on cross-border data flows (including data protection laws) are currently regulated in international trade law. It will touch upon the main literature on the trade costs of restrictions on cross-border data flows and then introduce how restrictions on data flows are (or are not) regulated in multilateral, plurilateral and bilateral trade arrangements.

8 February 2021
2-3 pm - Zoom

Technological disputation on Stephen Hawking’s statement "Success in creating effective AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst. We just don't know." 
Speaker: Wanshu Cong (Max Weber Fellow, EUI - LAW) and Hans-Wolfgang Micklitz (former professor, EUI - LAW)

1 February 2021
2-2.30 pm - Zoom

"Digital coffee meeting": Filter bubbles and clickbait: tango of truth decay and trust decay
Speaker: Madeleine de Cock Buning (EUI - STG)
We can all witness how disinformation (fake news) and growing disagreement over facts (truth decay) are having a disruptive impact on our society, democracy and even our health. The EU in is the midst of stepping up its fight against disinformation through the recently presented Digital Service Act (DSA) and the European Democracy Action Plan. Against this background, Prof. de Cock Buning argues that truth decay and institutional trust decay are deeply intertwined. Any tenable solution to the disinformation problem requires deep self-reflection by national – and EU – institutions, as well as fundamental academic research into its root causes.

11 January 2021
2-3 pm - Zoom

Technological disputation on Melvin Kranzberg’s statement "Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral"
Speakers: Antony Rosborough (EUI - LAW) and Francisco De Abreu Duarte (EUI - LAW)

Cluster activities 2020

21 December 2020
2-3 pm - Zoom

Technological disputation on Peter Thiel’s statement “Crypto is Libertarian, AI is communist”
Speakers: Nicolas Petit (EUI - LAW and RSC) vs. Stefan Fritsch (EUI - RSC)

9 December 2020
5-6.30 pm, Zoom

Big Tech and the Digital Economy - Schuman Centre Seminar Series: Book presentation
Speaker: Nicolas Petit (EUI - LAW and RSC)
Nicolas Petit presented his new book 'Big Tech and the Digital Economy', which asks a simple question: are the tech giants monopolies? In the current environment of suspicion towards the major technology companies as a result of concerns about their power and influence, it has become commonplace to talk of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, or Netflix as the modern day version of the 19th century trusts. In turn, the tech giants are vilified for a whole range of monopoly harms towards consumers, workers and even the democratic process. In the US and the EU, antitrust, and regulatory reform is on the way.
Using economics, business and management science as well legal reasoning, this book offers a new perspective on big tech. It builds a theory of "moligopoly". The theory advances that the tech giants, or at least some of them, coexist both as monopolies and oligopoly firms that compete against each other in an environment of substantial uncertainty and economic dynamism.
With this, the book assesses ongoing antitrust and regulatory policy efforts. It demonstrates that it is counterproductive to pursue policies that introduce more rivalry in moligopoly markets subject to technological discontinuities. And that non-economic harms like privacy violations, fake news, or hate speech are difficult issues that belong to the realm of regulation, not antimonopoly remediation.

16 November 2020

Online conference "The New Competition Tool and the Digital Services Act: EU Competition Policy at a Crossroads"
The conference aims to gather academics, practitioners, officials from the EU institutions (i.e. Commission, Parliament and Council), National Competition Authorities, as well as industry representatives to discuss the pros and cons of the New Competition Tool (NCT) and the Digital Services Act (DSA). The event is timely since the European Commission is expected to publish a legislative proposal concerning the NCT and the DSA by the end of 2020. The legislative proposal will later be debated within the Council and the European Parliament in the course of 2021.
Recordings are available on the event webpage

21 May 2020
6 pm - Zoom

Preliminary brainstorming meeting with EUI members

Page last updated on 08 April 2021

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