Author Archives: mireillemoret

Organised by: Emre Bayamlioglu, Irina Baraliuc, Liisa Janssens, Mireille Hildebrandt

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of ‘Profiling the European Citizen’ (ed. Mireille Hildebrandt and Serge Gutwirth), which brought together lawyers, computer scientists and philosophers around emerging practices of data mining, knowledge discovery in data bases (KDD) and their application in a variety of domains.

The title of the book turns out to have been prophetic, touching upon a series of implications of what has now been coined as the micro targeting of individuals as consumers and citizens, based on machine learning and AB testing.

To celebrate – or even to mourn – the relevance of the volume, LSTS is organizing a seminar to reflect on current affairs and further implications. In two days we will engage with 24 provocations by an awe-inspiring line-up of lawyers, computer scientists, philosophers and social scientists. Focus is on 6 themes that will hopefully induce both deep thinking and a challenging cross-disciplinary conversation:

1. Theories of normativity between law and machine learning
Sylvie Delacroix, Patrick Allo, Seda Guerses, Emre Bayamlioglu
2. Transparency theory for data driven decision making
Karen Yeung, Anton Vedder, Jaap-Henk Hoepman, Gloria Gonzalez Fuster
3. Presumption of innocence in data driven government
Lucia Sommerer, Linnet Taylor, Tobias Blanke, Sabine Gless
4. Legal and political theory in data driven environments
Orla Lynskey, Ben Wagner, Arjen de Vries, Irina Baraliuc
5. Saving machine learning from p-hacking
Antoinette Rouvroy, Felix Stalder, Clare Gollnick, Mireille Hildebrandt
6. The legal and ML status of micro targeting
Bart Custers, Serge Gutwirth, Reuben Binns, Niels van Dijk

Though this is largely an author meets author seminar, some space is open for attendance. Please register with


This February (2018) LSTS prof. Mireille Hildebrandt will teach an ‘intensive course’ at University of Toronto, Faculty of Law on Data Driven Law. The course will build on her explorations of the entanglements between law and smart technologies, inquiring further into the impact of data-driven environments on democracy, law and the Rule of Law.

The course will investigate machine learning (ML) as a novel way to detect, identify and construct knowledge, taking ML seriously as a scientific discipline with its own methodological loyalties and its own specific requirements of methodological integrity. On the menu will be, amongst others, law as information, the relationship between law, democracy and the Rule of Law, ML and data protection law, issues of criminal law, jurisdiction and law as computation under the Rule of Law. 3624892015424b83f37ce7b47d29e99b

Core questions will be: how shall we move beyond the assumed trade-off between ML accuracy and ML interpretability? which characteristics of the Rule of Law must be reinvented in a data driven environment? how does the capture of behavioural data transform our autonomy? should we admit to eschatological expectations of deep learning? or should we? what does this mean for the trade of lawyers? and what does it mean for their profession? how does automation of decisions in the realm of criminal law affect core principles such as the presumption of innocence? will distributed ledger technologies ‘freeze the future’ or will they set us free? how will the regulatory state transform in the era of data driven anyware? shall we figure out ways and means to embed legal and democratic values in the architecture of artificial legal intelligence? And much more.


CILP-AI-Tech-Law-Poster-2016On 9th March Mireille Hildebrandt will be speaking at the Innovation Policy Colloquium of New York University, invited by Helen Nissenbaum and Katherine Strandburg on ‘From Law as Information to Law as Calculation’. Building on her book and her Chorley Lecture she will discuss how the idea of computational law or jurimetrics stemmed from a previous wave of artificial intelligence, based on an algorithmic understanding of law, celebrating logic as the sole ingredient for proper legal argumentation. She will confront Holmes’ famous adage that the life of the law is experience rather than logic with the new wave of artificial intelligence, based on co-called machine learning, that builds on machine experience. Noting that current development of computational law build on (machine) experience rather than logic, Hildebrandt predicts (sic!) that such computational law may be far more successful in terms e.g. predicting the content of positive law. She will, however, argue that such computational law does not qualify as law, but rather as public administration or as a commodity on the market for legal services. This raises a number of questions about the interaction between legal machine intelligence, the law and the Rule of Law. Notably when it comes to ‘speaking law to power’. The Lecture concerns a paper that will be presented on 25th March at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, for the Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Technology and the Future of Law, in the panel on ‘Will Technology Challenge the Conceptual Foundations of the Law?


LSTS is organising the FWO Interdisciplinary Seminar ‘ANYWARE’ on 13 October 2016, from 11.30-16.30, at ICAB, in Brussels. The event is chaired and organized by Mireille Hildebrandt (VUB, Radboud University) and will bring together leading and inconspicuous scholars and scientists on the nexus of machine learning, digital security, philosophy, STS and law, to forage the field where location data, machine learning and privacy meet.

Speakers include Solon Barocas (Princeton University, Microsoft Research), Judith Simon (ITU Copenhagen, University Vienna), Jean Paul Van Bendegem (VUB), Gloria González Fuster (VUB), Seda Guerses (Princeton University, KULeuven), Jaap-Henk Hoepman (Radboud University Nijmegen), Lydia Nicholas (NESTA, UK), Arjen de Vries (Radboud University Nijmegen, TBC), Alison Powell (London School of Economics) and Irina Shklovski (IT University Copenhagen).

Under the title ‘Privacy and location data in the era of machine learning‘, the seminar will discuss how people, things, their behaviour and their state of being and becoming is increasingly captured anywhere and anytime by a plethora of sensor systems, online tracking mechanisms and providers of mobile hardware, firmware, browsers, and applications. We have come to live in an ‘anyware’ that connects any ‘ware’ with any ‘thing’ to infer potentially interesting patterns to e.g. solve problems, or detect inclinations, earning capacity or health risks. The speakers will explore (and if possible specify) the difference that makes a difference when it comes to ML on location data, indicating when, how and why privacy may be infringed. It builds on the interdisciplinary FWO funded research project on ‘Contextual integrity and the proliferation of location data’ (see related publications here and there). UPDATE: Registration is no longer possible.


6 september 2016: De Privacyrede.

Mireille Hildebrandt voorspelt dat ‘het’ onderwijs binnen vijf jaar radicaal zal veranderen. We hebben nu een systeem waarin de persoonlijke verhouding tussen leerlingen en docent centraal staat en de inhoud van over te dragen kennis. We gaan naar een datagestuurde leeromgeving waarin de meeste beslissingen worden genomen door al dan niet ‘lerende’ computersystemen. Die systemen worden gevoed met de meetbare prestaties en gedragsdata van studenten en docenten. Sommigen zien in deze mutatie het voorportaal van een nieuw paradijs, anderen ontwaren de contouren van de poort naar de hel. In deze rede geeft Hildebrandt aan hoe we hemel en hel kunnen vermijden door de komst van de datagestuurde leeromgeving onder ogen te zien en door op cruciale punten goed doordachte keuzes te maken.

Zie de geschreven versie: Datagedreven Onderwijs: Wijs of Onwijs?

En de live opname: Wijs of Onwijs: Datagedreven Onderwijs

See also her Edinburgh keynote at the Annual Conference of the Learning Analytics and Knowledge Society (LAK2016).

Schermafbeelding 2016-06-28 om 06.46.49

On 28th June 2016 Mireille Hildebrandt will speak at contemporary art centre Wiels on her recent book ‘Smart Technologies and the End(s) of Law. Novel Entanglements of Law and Technology’ (the paperback just came out with Edward Elgar). The lecture will discuss the implications of the ‘new digital unconscious’ that forms the playground for both cowboys and spies, rummaging through our secrets and trivialities to feed into new business models or to detect the patterns of predictable dangers.

BTW check out the exhibition of Simon Denny on the cusp of art, politics and silicon mountains.

Snowden          Loesje geheim


Schermafbeelding 2015-02-06 om 14.26.38Last month my new book was published with Edward Elgar: have a look at the online version and download the appetizers (the Prefatory Remarks and the first Chapter) here.

The book moves into the implications of the data-driven agency that mushrooms all around us, suggesting this indicates and requires what I have called ‘a new animism’. It describes the threats of pre-emptive infrastructures that function as a unity of action and perception, feeding on our behavioral data aggregated in a distributed non-homogeneous Big Data Space that in turn nurtures an emerging Digital Unconscious. The book ventures into the upcoming onlife world, where the difference between online and offline becomes increasingly artificial. It also reserves a chapter for the Japanese tradition and the way it deals with both privacy and nonhuman agency, suggesting that we have much to learn of other ways of dealing with both. Finally, the books discusses the ends of law, inquiring into its modes of existence, arguing that we cannot take current legal protection for granted, inviting legal scholars to engage with the architects of our new life world: computer scientists, human-machine-interaction designers and developers of new business models.

Looking forward to your comments and reflections! Text by Mireille Hildebrandt