Deadline for Abstract Submissions: May 15, 2021

The Erasmus School of Law, together with the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Digital Governance, invites submissions for a workshop supported by the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research to be held on October 28, 2021. The purpose of this one-day workshop is to create an all-encompassing discussion on the impact of Artificial Intelligence on Human Rights. Furthermore, it aims to open up a new dialogue among junior and more senior researchers.  The theme of the conference is:

“AI and human rights: friend or foe?”

AI is a broad concept encompassing multiple applications that do things requiring intelligence (paraphrasing a leading Council of Europe definition). All these applications may have a significant impact on human rights. On the one hand, they may contribute to the advancement of human rights. On the other hand, they can pose an obvious risk to human rights. One needs only to think of the many instances where biased algorithms discriminate ethnic minorities. This framework calls for a reflection and a discussion on the interaction between AI and human rights. The workshop would thus enable participants to: (i) contribute with theoretical and/or empirical references; (ii) gather relevant case studies; and (iii) identify recent debates in academia, new trends and drawbacks that have arisen with AI and human rights.

The organisers welcome legal theory approaches to AI & human rights (e.g. AI, companies and human rights; AI as friend to human rights; AI as foe to human rights), as well as thematic studies of the interplay between AI and specific human rights, whether civil and political rights (e.g. AI & the right to privacy; AI & voting rights; AI & the right to life, to name but a few possibilities) or economic, social or cultural rights (AI & the right to work; AI & the right to education, and so on). The envisaged Workshop output is an encyclopaedic work charting the foremost AI & HRs discussions in general and mapping the interplay between AI and selected human rights specifically. While country studies are not precluded, the workshop’s (and output’s) common reference will be international (and regional) human rights instruments, with domestic law and case law serving as illustrations.


Prospective contributors are invited to submit their abstract (750 words maximum) with a provisional title to by May 15, 2021. Abstracts may be accompanied by a brief running bio of no more than 150 words. In the selection of papers, preference will be given to the author(s) who clearly elaborated the effects, whether positive (e.g. preventing human rights breaches or increasing accountability of human rights abusers) or negative (e.g. causing or risking human rights breaches), that AI applications may have on specific human rights.

Selected papers will be announced by the beginning of June 2021. A full draft of the paper (6,000 words max) is due on October 1, 2021 with the objective of publishing a collection of (selected) articles from the conference in an edited book with a leading publishing house. Draft papers will be circulated among the participants in advance and each presenter will be accompanied by a discussant.

Participation in the conference is free of charge but registration is required. Registration for non-speakers should be addressed to by October 7. Contributors to the workshop are expected to partake in the book project. The organisers make the final selection of papers and reserve the right not to select a presented paper.

Financial aid

There will be limited funds available to cover accommodation costs for one night. Subject to later confirmation, there may be limited funds for covering part of the travel costs for the selected participants.

Questions may be directed to conference organisers at

Organising Committee

Dr Alberto Quintavalla

Prof Dr Jeroen Temperman

Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Digital Governance

Prof Dr Klaus Heine