Technological Change and Society
We are currently witnessing a wave of technological developments – in communications (IoT, big data and blockchain), biology and chemistry (nano technologies), mechanics (robotics), and computer science (AI, edge and quantum computing) – that are profoundly affecting our societies, communities, and economies. In the workplace, autonomous and adaptive technologies open prospects of a new cycle of automation, impacting on the formation of attitudes, the allocation of resources and the exercise of power. Technological change also generates new social, ethical, and legal questions in fields such as individual freedoms and human rights, competition and market structure, consumer protection or public health. And the Covid-19 pandemic is raising more questions than ever about the role of technology in crisis management.
We will investigate these challenges with the aim to assist policy makers. Indeed, policy is the natural arena for interdisciplinary work, generating a common conceptual language and new insights across the fragmented research in the different social sciences. We adopt a global perspective but will focus on the EU’s ability to play a leading role, while preserving its fundamental values.
Three main observations motivate our activities:
This technological change affects all spheres of society, from politics and media, to law, entertainment and culture, reshaping in particular the nature of work.
Development and deployment of technologies in different social contexts bring both opportunities and risks.
New technologies can be governed – through economic, social and legal instruments – to maximise benefits, control risks and observe fundamental values.
Our events will engage engineers and computer scientists, academics in social sciences and leaders from industry, government and civil society to discuss which current issues would benefit most from interdisciplinary investigation.
Digital Coffee Meetings
These is a series of informal meetings featuring brief presentations, with non-technical language, by EUI members working on digital transition. With this series of meeting we intend to build a common knowledge within the EUI community of the many activities developed around digitization and its consequences. These meetings are open to EUI members only.
These are very informal meetings among EUI Tech Cluster members. Given the interdisciplinary aims of the group, we should keep in mind to explain specific terminology we use, for better communication with people from other disciplines.
The "proposer" of the topic/sentence has the floor first for 5-10 minutes, followed by the "discussant", with the same time allotment. This initial interaction can be managed as a dialogue, with opening statements and "rebuttals". We then open the floor for discussion, which will be concluded by the discussant and the proposer, each with a brief wrap-up. The meeting should run a maximum of 55 minutes, but we can conclude earlier.
Technology Frontier Talks
These events are lectures on cutting edge issues, with prominent scientists expert in disciplines not researched at the EUI (such as philosophy, physics, chemistry, computer science, etc.). A 60' lecture is followed by a 60' interaction with the audience. Following the talk, we issue a written report of the meeting that is useful for academics, practitioners, and policymakers.
Other cluster members
(University of Helsinki, former EUI LAW professor)
15 March 2021
3-5 pm - via Zoom
8 March 2021
2-3 pm - via Zoom
"Technological disputation”: Arthur Dolgopolov (EUI - ECO) and Philip Hanspach (EUI - ECO) on Tim Harford’s statement "State-run algorithms should stay in the realm of science fiction" - Event open only to cluster members
1 March 2021
1.30-2 pm - via Zoom
8 February 2021
2-3 pm - via Zoom
"Technological disputation”: Wanshu Cong (Max Weber Fellow, EUI - LAW) and Hans-Wolfgang Micklitz (former professor, EUI - LAW) 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." - Event open only to cluster members
1 February 2021
2-2.30 pm - via Zoom
11 January 2021
2-3 pm - via Zoom
"Technological disputation”: Antony Rosborough (EUI - LAW) and Francisco De Abreu Duarte (EUI - LAW) on Melvin Kranzberg’s statement "Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral." - Event open only to cluster members
21 December 2020
2-3 pm - via Zoom
"Technological disputation”: Nicolas Petit (EUI - LAW and RSC) vs. Stefan Fritsch (EUI - RSC) on Peter Thiel’s statement “Crypto is Libertarian, AI is communist.” - Event open only to cluster members
9 December 2020
5-6.30 pm, via Zoom
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
Preliminary brainstorming meeting with EUI members