Call for papers: Doctoral Seminar on Algorithmic Governance and Governance of Algorithms: Ethical and Legal Challenges in Tartu, Estonia

Date: 23 May 2019

Rapid advances in AI and robotics question and challenge the traditional boundaries of law. Algorithms are widely employed to make decisions that have increasingly far-reaching impacts on individuals and the society (“algorithmic governance”), leading potentially to manipulation, biases, censorship, social discrimination, violations of privacy and property rights, and more. This has sparked a global debate on how to regulate AI and robotics (“governance of algorithms”). In our seminar we will discuss both facets, i.e. the impact of algorithms as well as the possibilities of future regulation.

Topics for papers include, but are not limited to:

  • The impact of AI on civil liberties, including due process, equal protection
  • Privacy issues with regard to smart robots, IoT
  • Comparative international perspectives on the regulation of robotic technologies
  • Discussion of the relation between AI and robotics research and/or regulation
  • Law and economic perspectives on AI and robotics
  • Effects of automation on jobs
  • Legal and moral responsibility for autonomous systems
  • IP Protection for AI and robots
  • Ethical issues arising from automation and automated decision-making

The topics listed are only examples. We are happy to accept papers with a different focus. We welcome proposals both from lawyers and non-lawyers.


Travelling costs

The University of Tartu will cover the accommodation costs of selected participants. In addition, the best two participants will be rewarded with a full refund of their travel expenses. Selected participants will also have the opportunity to publish their paper in a renowned journal.



We welcome PhD candidates from law and other disciplines. All candidates are invited to apply by submitting an abstract (500 words max) and a CV by January 31, 2019 to Successful applicants will be notified of the result (and the coverage of accommodation costs) by February 11, 2019. Those who would like to take part in the essay contest in order to get full refund of travel expenses should additionally submit a full paper by April 15, 2019.



For submitting paper proposals and CVs, as well as for further information about the Seminar, please contact



University of Tartu, School of Law

Näituse 20, 50409, Tartu – ESTONIA



Martin Ebers, PhD, habil., Associate Professor of IT Law

Marta Cantero, PhD, Associate Professor of IT Law


General information

The IT Law Doctoral Seminar on AI is organized in co-operation with the Robotics & AI Law Society (RAILS), the University of Tartu School of Law and the University of Tartu Doctoral School in Economics and Innovation supported by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund (University of Tartu’s ASTRA project PER ASPERA).

The Robotics & AI Law Society (RAILS) was founded in 2017 with the aim to ensure that intelligent systems are designed in a responsible way. RAILS is working on a legal framework that facilitates technical developments, avoids discrimination, ensures equal treatment and transparency, protects fundamental democratic principles and ensures that all parties involved are adequately participating in the economic results of the digitalization. For more information please visit


The flyer for the phd seminar can be also downloaded here.

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