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READ THE PUBLISHED STORY ON THE EVENT BY UCHICAGO NEWS, How do we define human rights in the age of A.I.?

Democracy and A.I. — a timely and thought-provoking conversation about the challenges posed by artificial intelligence and technology.

Sheila Jasanoff will deliver the keynote address, "The Encroaching Machine: Reframing Rights in the Age of A.I."

What happens to human rights when machines developed to enhance our powers seem ready to assert power over us?

Recent developments in AI have unsettled expectations about the firmness of the line between human and nonhuman, emotion and intellect, and person and machine. In this talk, Sheila Jasanoff will draw on comparisons between biotechnology and A.I. to explore how technological change reconfigures our sense of human nature and with what implications for human rights and entitlements.




     Ben Laurence, Instructional Professor, Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, University of Chicago

Opening Remarks

     Torsten Reimer, University Librarian and Dean of the University Library, University of Chicago

Keynote: The Encroaching Machine: Reframing Rights in the Age of A.I. 

     Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard University


  • Aziz Huq, Frank and Bernice J. Greenberg Professor of Law, University of Chicago
  • David Gunkel, Professor of Media Studies, Northern Illinois University 
  • Torsten Reimer, University Librarian and Dean of the University Library, University of Chicago

     Q and A

– Intermission – 

Lightning Presentations

  • Christian Cianfarani, University of Chicago Physical Science Division
  • Silvia Craig, University of Chicago College
  • Nicole West Bassoff, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Moderator: Austin Clyde, University of Chicago

     Discussion and Q & A


About the Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Sheila Jasanoff is Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Harvard Kennedy School. A pioneer in her field, she has authored more than 130 articles and chapters and is the author or editor of more than 15 books, including The Fifth Branch, Science at the Bar, Designs on Nature, The Ethics of Invention, and Can Science Make Sense of Life? Her work explores the role of science and technology in the law, politics, and policy of modern democracies. She founded and directs the STS Program at Harvard; previously, she was the founding chair of the STS Department at Cornell. She was selected as the 2022 recipient of the Holberg Prize – dubbed the Nobel prize for social science and humanities - for her prolific and pioneering efforts in the field of science and technology studies. For more information on Professor Jasanoff, please visit



Aziz Z. Huq is the Frank and Bernice J. Greenberg Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He is a scholar of US and comparative constitutional law. His scholarship concerns the interaction of constitutional design with individual rights and liberties. His research ranges from democratic backsliding to regulating A.I. He co-authored How to Save a Constitutional Democracy (2018) with Prof. Tom Ginsburg and published The Collapse of Constitutional Remedies (2021) with Oxford University Press. He has an active pro bono practice and is on the board of the American Constitution Society, the New Press, and the ACLU of Illinois. He was a law clerk for Judge Robert D. Sack of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States. 

David J. Gunkel is the Presidential Research, Artistry, and Scholarship Professor of Media Studies at Northern Illinois University and Professor of Philosophy at Larzarski University in Warsaw, Poland. To say that he wrote the book on the rights of robots and other non-human artifacts is correct but also inaccurate. He has actually written and published three award-winning books on this subject, including The Machine Question: Critical Perspectives on AI, Robots, and EthicsRobot Rights; and Person, Thing, Robot: A Moral and Legal Ontology for the 21st Century and Beyond all with MIT Press. Specializing in the ethics of emerging technology, his teaching and research synthesize the hype of high-technology with the rigor and insight of contemporary critical analysis. 

Torsten Reimer is University Librarian and Dean of the University Library at the University of Chicago. With a background in digital scholarship and research infrastructures, Torsten's career has been focused on making the global knowledge environment more open. Before joining the University of Chicago, he served on the British Library's Strategic Leadership Team as the lead for collection development, digital preservation, research services, and scholarly communications. In previous roles, he developed open access and research data services at Imperial College London and a national program for research infrastructure and tools at Jisc (the UK's digital service provider for higher education). Torsten's background is in history and digital humanities; he holds a PhD in history from the University of Munich and is a Fellow of the Software Sustainability Institute. 



This event is produced in collaboration with the University of Chicago Law School and the University of Chicago Library.


About the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights

The Pozen Family Center for Human Rights at the University of Chicago supports innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research initiatives that critically explore the theory and practice of global human rights. 

For upcoming Pozen Center events, click here.

To join the Pozen Center mailing list to receive the Weekly Digest with human rights events and opportunities, click here.