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Populism, Technology and Law

The CEU Campus
Monday, September 16, 2019, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm

Populism, Technology and Law CEU Project Workshop, co-organized by the Center for Ethics and Law in Biomedicine (CELAB)
September 16, 2019 Monday

Places at the workshop are limited, please, contact us if you are interested in attending the event.

Within the framework of the CEU ITI Comparative Populism Project this one-day workshop brings together CEU faculty and international scholars working on topics related to populism, technology, law, and governance within different disciplinary traditions. The aim is to explore the technological challenges to the rule of law, and to analyze the contribution of various emerging technologies to the increasing manifestation of populism. In order to arrive at more generalizable conclusions about the function of populism in public policy, party politics, public administration, the law, and foreign policy, this workshop focuses on the role of technology and governance.

The workshop seeks to answer two pressing questions: What is the relationship between populist politics and new digital technologies, like artificial intelligence and machine learning? How could these technologies contribute to the strengthening of citizens’ rights and democratic accountability?

Hyper-targeted misinformation, election manipulation and pervasive surveillance are just some of the new tools afforded to overt and covert political actors by powerful new technologies. In the wake of recent scandals related to the potential of such methods to undermine trust, create societal polarization and challenge democratic processes, there is an urgent need to align the development and application of these technologies with fundamental rights and norms.

Venue: Central European University, Quantum Room (Nádor street 15. 1st floor)

9:00–9:30           Registration

9:30–9:45           Opening Address Zsolt Enyedi, Pro-Rector, and Judit Sándor, Director of CELAB

1. Populism and Artificial Intelligence: A dangerous liaison?  What is at stake?
Chair: Judit Sándor, Professor at the Central European University

9:45–10:05        Paul F. Nemitz, Principal Advisor in the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers of the European Commission: Is Democracy in a Pincer Movement Between Populism and Technology?
10:05–10:25     Fanny Hidvégi, Access Now’s Europe Policy Manager: More Big Words on AI, but Where are the Actions?
10:25–11:00     Discussion

11:00–11:20     Coffee break

2.  Data Management and the Media
Chair: Imre Bárd, Researcher at CELAB, CEU

11:20–11:40     Marius Dragomir, Director of the CEU Center for Media, Data and Society: The business of misinformation: who makes money from peddling lies
11:40–12:00     Michael Veale, Lecturer at University College London: Privacy Preserving Power: Social and Democratic Issues with Encrypted Data Analysis
12:00–12:30     Discussion

12:30–13:30     Lunch Break: Buffet lunch for the speakers and for the registered participants

3. Policy for the Future
Chair: Judit Sándor, Director of CELAB

13:30–13:50     Mackenzie Nelson, Researcher and Project Manager for the Governing Platforms Project, Algorithm Watch: Populism, Platforms and the Digital Public Sphere
13:50–14:10     Harry Armstrong, Head of Technology Futures, Nesta: The Problem with Solutions: Why Existing Governance Frameworks Struggle with New Technologies
14:10-14:40     Discussion

14:40-15:00      Coffee break

3. General Discussion, Conclusions and Policy Statement on the Topic
Chair: Márton Varju, CELAB fellow, ELKH Centre for Social Sciences 

15:00–16:00     Discussion  

This workshop has been financed by the CEU ITI Comparative Populism Project.

Please note that during the event photography and video recording may occur. The photos and the video will be published on CEU's website, Facebook, Flickr and Youtube channel. 

The Privacy Notice of the event is available here: