Think NEXUS #Webinar: Emerging AI technology and its social and ethical implications

Think NEXUS is organising a webinar titled ‘Emerging AI technology and its social and ethical implications’, which will be held on November 24th at 18h EET (17h CET).

The webinar is free of charge.

Join us through the following link:


Webinar details

AI makes possible many new products and services that drive economic growth and technological innovation, worldwide, and is the key to military technology. Therefore, “AI systems” seen as automated decision systems raise countless socio-political questions, for example: who possesses the knowledge needed to take decisions? Who determines who possesses that knowledge?  And to what extend AI enables influencing on public and political debate, for example through political micro-targeting and the dissemination of disinformation? Besides privacy and security, specific social and ethical issues that can be affected by AI include responsibility and predictability of algorithms, avoidance of discrimination, social exclusion, and stigmatisation, ‘winner-takes-all’ market dynamics, de-skilling, de-socialisation, and unemployment, among others.

There have been many initiatives within science, business, and government to look at AI from a social and ethical perspective. According to the European AI Strategy, ‘human-centric’ AI should, firstly, respect fundamental rights, applicable regulations and core principles and values, ensuring an “ethical purpose”. And, secondly, the technology must be robust and trustworthy. However, the semantics behind AI are not shared between both sides of the Atlantic despite the common challenge to responsibly develop and use AI technology – maximizing its benefits while minimizing risks and protecting human rights. It’s now time for shared rules and legislation.


Erik Mannens is a Research Valorisation Director @ imec & Professor @ Ghent University. He currently heads the Data Science team of +50 Semantic Technologies & Artificial Intelligence Researchers. The primary objective of the Data Science team is to advance research and technology in the sweet spot of the fusion of Semantics & Artificial Intelligence and to widely apply this research in large-scale use cases.

He received his PhD degree in Computer Science Engineering (2011) at UGent, his Master’s degree in Computer Science (1995) at K.U. Leuven University, and his Master’s degree in Electro-Mechanical Engineering (1992) at KAHO Ghent. Before joining iMinds-Ghent University-DataScienceLab in 2005 as research manager, he was a software engineering consultant and Java architect for over a decade. His major expertise is centered around big data analytics, metadata modeling, semantic web technologies, broadcasting workflows, iDTV and web development in general.  Since 2008 Erik is paving the Open Data path in Flanders. He stood at the cradle of the first Hackathons and is a founding member of the Open Knowledge Foundation. (Belgian Chapter). Since then, he is frequently invited as Open Data evangelist at national and international events.

Michail Bletsas is a Research Scientist at the MIT Media Lab where he has been working since 1996. He is responsible for all the infrastructure that the lab uses to produce, store, transport and consume its bits. His current research interests include network security, wireless networks, building efficient high performance machine learning computing infrastructures and the intersection of AI with Society. Over the years, he has advised governments around technology policy issues and provided expert opinion in technical matters to top-level officials. He has cofounded two companies, has been a director and consulted for many others in a variety of capacities. Mr. Bletsas has been a frequent keynote speaker in international conferences and has been engaged in many civic activities. He holds an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and an MSc degree in Computer Engineering from Boston University

George Giannakopoulos is currently a Research Fellow in NCSR “Demokritos“. He has worked for more than 15 years on domains such as Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Data Mining, Biomedical Informatics. He graduated from the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens) in 2005. He was awarded a PhD on Artificial Intelligence for his dissertation on automatic multi-document summarization in 2009 (School of Information and Communication Systems Engineering, University of the Aegean, Greece). Mr Giannakopoulos has more than 15 years of industrial experience in information technologies and IT consulting, covering domains such as Software Engineering, Medical Informatics, Data Mining and Machine Learning. He is co-founder of the non-profit company SciFY, acting as its Technical Manager to more than 5 ongoing projects related to the application of Artificial Intelligence on everyday life.

Jan De Bruyne obtained a Master’s degree in Political Sciences at the University of Ghent (2008) and a Master’s degree in Law (2012) at the same university. He has been an assistant in comparative and private law at the Ghent University Faculty of Law and Criminology since October 2012. He successfully defended his Ph.D. in September 2018 on a topic dealing with the liability of third-party certifiers. Jan De Bruyne was a Van Calker Fellow at the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law and has been a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of European and Comparative Law of Oxford University and at the Center for European Legal Studies of the University of Cambridge. He started working at CiTiP in October 2019 as senior researcher on legal aspects of AI within the Flemish Centre for Data & Society. He will continue working on his post-doctoral research on robots, artificial intelligence and liability at the Ghent University Faculty of Law and Criminology. He is in charge of the Module “Vaardigheden IV”, in which students work on a topic related to legal aspects of AI and is supervisor of dissertations dealing with liability and technology. He has numerous publications in (inter)national journals and books on different legal topics such as certification and liability for damage caused by robots. He is also a regular speaker at conferences and seminars.

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