On November 6th, the conference “Artificial Intelligence and Law – Present and Future”, organized by ITM and the RWTÜV Foundation, took place at the Erbdrostenhof in Münster. Speakers from science and industry presented current trends and issues in the field of artificial intelligence from legal and technical perspectives.
The approximately 150 participants were first welcomed by Prof. Dr. Karl Friedrich Jakob, chairman of the board of the RWTÜV Foundation. Subsequently, Dr. Nikolas Guggenberger, former junior professor at ITM, gave a lecture on the problem of discrimination by algorithms; he also reported on the ITM project GoAL (Governance of Algorithms). Dr. Rainer Baumgart, former CEO of secunet AG, presented the regulatory framework for security in cyberspace. Prof. Vigjilenca Abazi from the University of Maastricht dealt with the tension between artificial intelligence and data protection.
After the lunch break, during which the conference participants already exchanged lively ideas about the lectures, Prof. Dr. Maximilian Herberger took them on a time travel through the development history of expert systems over the last five decades. Dirk Kretzschmar, Managing Director of TÜV Informationstechnik GmbH, explained the technical basics of machine learning systems and their lack of verifiability in terms of security. In the last lecture, Marco Müller-ter Jung, lawyer at DWF Germany, dealt with liability issues in the case of damages caused by AI applications. The conference ended with a panel discussion with Mrs. Elrifai (Gnosis/Berlin) and Mrs. Mulder (Münster) under the direction of Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoeren.
Following the presentations, exciting discussions developed as the speakers answered the participants’ questions. The event provided interesting insights into topics related to Artificial Intelligence as well as impulses for their further research. With the recently launched interdisciplinary research project “GOAL” (Governance of and through Algorithms), the topics of artificial intelligence and algorithms will continue to play a prominent role at ITM in the future. Five German universities are involved as partners in the project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and covers the research areas of computer science, law, ethics, administrative sciences and economics. Within the framework of GOAL, international workshops with external experts will be held and a case study with a self-developed app will be carried out. Further information on the project is available at www.goal-projekt.de
Special thanks are due to the RWTÜV Foundation, without whose generous support the conference would not have been possible.
On October 10, 2019 Prof. Zhou Lin, Executive Director of the Intellectual Property Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, presented his current findings and impressions of the Chinese social credit system at the invitation of Professor Hoeren. Prof. Zhou Lin gave the lecture during a visit to the ITM, with which he has long had scientific and friendly ties.
Prof. Zhou Lin followed up on his lecture of 8 April this year, in which he already explained the background of the social credit system. He informed today that there is a clear separation between public and private databases and that accordingly, contrary to many fears, there is no exchange of data. Prof. Zhou Lin was also able to report from his own experience in which situations a high social value had already been an advantage. For example, he was not expected to pay in advance for orders on the Internet.
The advantages and disadvantages of social credit systems were discussed together. The differences in the legal assessment of such systems in Germany and China were worked out. This led to a lively exchange of ideas, which provided all participants with valuable insights for their own research. The ITM would like to thank Prof. Zhou Lin for the wonderful cooperation.
Afterwards Mr. Zhang Kaiye introduced himself as a new guest doctoral student. Mr. Zhang Kaiye is a doctoral student at the School of Law of Tsinghua University, China, and will spend one year as a guest at ITM in the civil law department. His field of interest is Intellectual Property Law. He is particularly interested in technical protection measures and filter techniques. Therefore, he plans to work at ITM in particular on the EU Copyright Directive.
The ITM welcomes Mr. Zhang Kaiye and wishes him every success in his research.
From 6 to 8 September 2019, the annual doctoral seminar of the ITM took place again. Under the supervision of Professor Dr. Thomas Hoeren, 20 PhD students and postgraduates from all over Germany met in Gemeindehaus in Canum/East Frisia. Mr. Hoeren gave a broad overview of the hermeneutical basics of doctoral studies, especially in the accentuation of metatheories and the search for an own preliminary understanding of the respective topic. Then Mr. Hoeren presented typical problems in writing a doctoral thesis, from grammar to literature research and the search for a suitable publisher.
Then intensive work was done on the respective topics. Each doctoral student presented his topic in detail; the research approach was discussed and tips were given for clarifying the meta question and the red thread of the thesis. The individual topics from the field of ITM were presented into the night, ranging from industrial property rights, copyright and unfair competition law to IT law and data protection law. The questions that arose were then deepened during walks, for example at the Pilsum lighthouse.
The seminar, which is offered every year for external doctoral students, fulfilled its goal: the doctoral students learned a lot about possibilities to improve their research approach and at the same time were able to join forces with new like-minded people per colleague.