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EPFL DH-Research Seminar : A computational-philosophical approach to the international law on AI

On May 12th, EPFL’s Digital Humanities Institute (DHI) will host Dr Johan Rochel, a postdoc researcher at the CDH, for the next virtual edition of its DH Research Seminar.

The DH Research Seminar is a series of talks given by researchers from a wide range of backgrounds. It aims to  present the vast array of subjects covered by digital humanities. The presentations are followed by a Q&A session.


This brief talk will provide an overview of the research project I would like to start at the CDH.

Because of the relevance it holds for virtually all emerging technologies, AI is seen as a promising case-study of how to address structural challenges for international law on technology. A number of international actors have drafted ethical guidelines for AI governance, placing the focus on values such as autonomy, accountability, or digital sustainability. This research project builds on this momentum. The first general objective is to evaluate the contours of an international law on AI. The second general objective is to give this emerging international law a normative backbone by drawing upon a specific doctrinal approach to international law, thereby drawing on a republican approach structured around a notion of freedom defined as meaning an absence of domination. The third general objective is to identify the lessons learnt from this republican international law on AI for international law on emerging technologies. The results will contribute to theoretical issues in international law and help identify best practices for policymaking in the context of technologies. They will also improve international law’s capacity to address technological developments that impact individuals and States alike.

About the speaker

Dr. Johan Rochel is a postdoc researcher at the CDH. He teaches as part of the SHS programme “Ethics of Robotics” and “Law and Ethics of AI”. He is trained both as a philosopher and as legal scholar. Beside his academic activities, he is co-founder and co-director of a consulting company called “ethix – lab for innovation ethics”. He commutes between Zürich, Lausanne and Monthey (Valais) where he is part of the constitution-giving body.


Those interested in attending can connect via Zoom at the following link:


From: 12 May, 2021
12:15 -13h15
To: 12 May, 2021
12:15 -13h15
Organizer: DHI - EPFL
Speaker: Johan Rochel
Languages: English




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