Call for Papers: Artificial Intelligence and Normative Challenges: International & Comparative Legal Perspectives



Event Date: 

04/1/21 to 04/2/21

Location name: 

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (or virtual)


Faculty of Law of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) and the Kalliopi Koufa Foundation for the Promotion of International and Human Rights Law, supported by the European Society of International Law (ESIL)


Artificial Intelligence and Normative Challenges: International and Comparative Legal Perspectives

The Faculty of Law of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) and the Kalliopi Koufa Foundation for the Promotion of International and Human Rights Law, supported by the European Society of International Law (ESIL), invite submissions of abstracts/papers for a colloquium on “Artificial Intelligence and Normative Challenges: International and Comparative Legal Perspectives”. The colloquium will take place on 1-2 April 2021, in Thessaloniki, Greece, or in a hybrid form/as a webinar, depending on the evolution of the current pandemic.

Invited speakers include, so far, Professor Nicholas Tsagourias, University of Sheffield and Professor Théodore Christakis, Université Grenoble Alpes. Αn introductory roundtable bringing together invited experts from the fields of philosophy/ethics of AI and of AI technology (TBC) is envisaged offering a broader perspective on AI and contributing to the more precise definitional delineation of the phenomenon as a prelude to the colloquium’s panels that will focus on normative challenges.

Colloquium Theme: Artificial Intelligence (AI) – both in its current narrow form and even more in its potential future forms (such as General and Super Intelligence) – has raised concerns as well as expectations. Its actual and potential consequences are everexpanding and apply to almost every facet of human life at the collective and individual levels: From the use of mobile phones and social media to autonomous weapons, from digitalization of knowledge and information to patent-eligibility for AI innovations, unexpected, until recently, philosophical, ontological, political and legal issues arise. This complex technological evolution poses serious challenges to the existing legal rules in various fields and warrants law to foresee potential developments regarding AI so as to establish a pre-emptive regulatory framework. This is all the more so for international law due to the borderless nature of AI and its frequent use in transnational contexts. Hence, law has a significant role to play in delimiting AI uses on the basis of current norms or in conjuring new concepts, principles and rules conveying new transnational, “plurispace” and agile normative forms. The goal of the colloquium is to explore the impact of AI on various areas of human conduct and the response of law generally, and particularly of international law, thereto. Indicatively, but not exclusively, the conveners of the colloquium invite the submission of abstracts in the following thematic clusters:

1. Responsibility/Liability/Culpability in the Age of AI: Wrongfulness, Attribution, Animus, Consequences The first thematic cluster revolves around the notions of responsibility and civil liability re-visiting different components: for instance, is it the software designer or manufacturer, the user or the persons or entities, which conduct machine-learning procedure, that should be held responsible/liable for wrongful acts? Can AI be held liable? What are the challenges in contract and tort law raised regarding civil liability for AI applications? Are the notions of attribution or causality modified in the face of the AI phenomenon? How should criminal responsibility be conceptualized in the face of AI evolution and on the basis of the different levels of AI autonomy? How can we distinguish between human and AI responsibility, in case of human and AI merging? How is the subjective element of responsibility (animus) modified in the context of AI? Which kind of remedies or penalties are relevant to AI of higher autonomy? Proposals in various legal fields (civil, criminal or international law) are welcomed.

2. AI and legal personhood: Private, Criminal and International Law Perspectives This thematic cluster focuses on the legal recognition of intelligent entities and their acquisition of legal personhood in various (private, criminal, international) contexts taking into account their unique, ontological characteristics. Can legal orders that are state- or human-centered accommodate AI entities and on what conditions? How do their collective features influence the discussion on personhood? Is there any difference in the degree of personhood for AGI and ASI (artificial general or super intelligence) if they ever come to exist? Is there any limitation in AI personhood in terms of space or time? How do different normative constellations (private/civil law; criminal law; public international law) tackle the challenge of legal recognition of intelligent machines?

3. AI innovations and intellectual property challenges This thematic cluster approaches the question of intellectual property in the era of AI autonomy: How will theories about patent eligibility be adjusted to growing AI autonomy? Is patent eligibility relevant with regard to the conditions of AI of higher intelligence? What are the differences of, and the similarities to, the 3rd industrial revolution and the era of computers and the internet? How does AI evolution impact upon economic and social rights that are intertwined with intellectual property (i.e. right to health, right to property).

4. Human rights in the age of AI This thematic cluster of the colloquium delves into the complex relationship between AI and human rights. Can AI be a holder of human rights and, inversely, are different forms of AI subject to human rights limitations? More specifically, do AI entities have a right of existence or of survival, and generally, are they holders of individual rights? Can human rights allow the evolution of AI towards general and super intelligence? Are human rights a sort-of guarantor of the human-centrism of existing legal systems? How does machine learning tools might shape negotiations and judicial proceedings (i.e. right to a fair trial or to an effective remedy)? How do algorithmic tools incorporate and reproduce biases in human rights protection and what does that mean for non- 3 discrimination? How do IOs, such as the European Union or the Council of Europe, have approached AI in relation to human rights in recent policy and legal texts?

5. AI, Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello This last thematic cluster aims at examining the consequences of AI in international humanitarian law and the law on the use of force. Are Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWSs) by themselves endangering the collective security system? How do AWSs modify aspects of the use of force, particularly in the cyberspace where the use of AI is prevalent? What does AU influence the regulations about jus ad bellum given its expanding autonomy? And with regard to jus in bello: How does AI challenge basic principles of IHL, such as humanity/humanely treatment, distinction, proportionality or the taking of precautions? In what ways constant evolution in data processing improves AI’s capabilities in armed conflict? How can human control and predictability be realized when using AI? What differences will exist with regard to IHL between unmanned machines reaching kinetic decisions and fully autonomous weapons?

Submission procedure: The abstracts should contain a one-page (500 words max.) description of the proposed presentation and are to be accompanied by a short (twopage max.) CV of the author(s). The abstracts should be sent to the following email address:, by 15 December 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by 15 January 2021.

Selected speakers are expected to submit extended drafts (5000 words) of their papers by 20 March 2021. Those papers selected for publication will be due by 15 June 2021 (8000 words with footnotes).

Eligibility: The colloquium is open to both established and early-career scholars and practitioners, including advanced PhD students from various legal backgrounds (international law, criminal law, private law, comparative law).

Other relevant information: The working language of the colloquium will be English. If the colloquium is organized in person, speakers will be expected to bear the costs of their own travel and accommodation. Some grants will be available to some of the selected speakers, who have exhausted all other potential sources of funding, offering partial financial support. Further information on financial support will be distributed to speakers in due course.

Expected output: An edited number to a an academic journal specializing on questions of artificial intelligence and the juridical responses thereto, is envisaged, for some of the colloquium’s papers based on academic excellence, originality and the academic profile of the journal.

The Scientific and Organizing Committee Angelos Kornilakis, Associate Professor of Civil Law, Faculty of Law, AUTh Georgios Nouskalis, Assistant Professor of Penal Law, Faculty of Law, AUTh Vassilis Pergantis, Assistant Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, AUTh Themis Tzimas, Post-doc Researcher and Teaching Assistant in International Law, School of Economic and Political Sciences, AUTh

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