We held an evening of discussion on the ethical implications of algorithm-supported decisions impacting our lives and how increasingly sophisticated learning machines may fundamentally change our existing systems of law.

Algorithms and advanced machine learning systems are being used more and more to inform sensitive, life changing decisions. They are relied on by our employers, governments, and even healthcare providers. But like people these systems are not free of bias. It can be very complicated, even impossible to understand how they arrived at a decision.

Learning systems, though designed by humans, continually learn and adapt in ways we cannot predict. They can drive our cars, anticipate our risk of hospitalisation or committing crimes. But as they start to operate more independently how do we make sure they keep doing what they are supposed to?

Chaired by Lydia Nicholas, Senior Researcher, Nesta.


Mireille Hildebrandt

Professor of Interfacing Law and Technology, Vrije Universiteit Brussels

Burkhard Schafer

Professor of Computational Legal Theory, University of Edinburgh

Sally Applin

Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology, University of Kent