Esther Keymolen Professor of Digital Technology Regulation Tilburg University

Tilburg University has appointed Dr Esther Keymolen as professor of Digital Technology Regulation with effect from 1 April 2022. With her research, Dr. Keymolen will contribute to a conceptual reassessment of key concepts such as responsibility and reliability in the legal domain, which are urgently needed in an increasingly data-driven society.

The rapid developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven technologies present many challenges. For example, the damage caused by AI technologies is often unforeseeable because processing processes are usually opaque, even for AI and machine learning experts. AI is also not a standalone technology: it functions in a network of actors (companies, users, developers, other technologies). That makes assessing the trustworthiness and assigning responsibility of digital technology a complex undertaking.

The research of the Digital Technology Regulation Chair will focus on how legal notions of liability, accountability and responsibility are shaped in practice within specific social and technological contexts, and how these notions align or conflict with other ethical values ​​of stakeholders. , in particular trust and reliability.

Esther Keymolen
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 the four central research programs of Tilburg Law School, entitled Regulating socio-technical change, in particular to mapping the socio-technological context in which regulation is embedded.

The research builds on the ELSA approach: Ethical, Legal, and Societal Aspects of AI and digital technologies, in particular by making findings relevant to the functioning of the legislator, the 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 a multidisciplinary perspective in her work, which we are very pleased about. in research and education in our Law School.She is an enthusiastic teacher with a mission to strengthen the techno-moral knowledge, attitudes and skills for data scientists and all other professionals involved in AI.She has already proven 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 pleased that she has continued her academic career want to continue at our university.”

dr. Esther Keymolen is associate professor of Philosophy of data-driven technology and operates at the intersection of regulation, technology philosophy and policy at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (Tilburg Law School). She also holds the position of Vice Dean of 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 trust model, which she applies 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 the fields of regulation and technology, philosophy of technology, and STS. Together with Dr Jurgen Goossens, she is leading a four-year NWO-MVI blockchain project: The Role and Responsibilities of Public Actors in Distributed Networks Transparency, Trust and Legitimacy by Design.

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