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Call for Student Abstracts – Due February 28

Human rights aims to protect, support, and see the flourishing universal rights, human dignity, and democracies—irrespective of identity or origins. Yet, artificial intelligence is disrupting traditional legal orders, bypassing regulation, reordering social, and replacing traditional bureaucratic decision systems with computational ones. Evidence demonstrates that internet communication platforms have a significant impact on democracy and the self-determination of citizens. Corporations and governments use it to ingest massive amounts of data, producing asymmetries for citizens for due process when used for sentencing or predictive policing. Algorithmic technology disrupts traditional forms of social interaction and collective ways of understanding the world. This directly challenges the human rights project. If algorithmic technology transforms the social world, how can the idea of human rights find itself in this new social context?

This call for abstract is seeking research that attempts to understand how rights can be articulated in terms of novel, innovative technology—providing a legible language for understanding the harms of present-day technology and seeking to understand the relationship between developing technology and the human rights wholistic project. International human rights law has been responsive to shifting threats to their fulfillment, such as through developing second-generation or third-generation rights to respond to challenges of minorities or indigenous people or climate change. But how can human rights be responsive to a changing social order emerging through technological innovation?

We seek abstract submissions from University of Chicago graduate students to present their work on a panel at an AI and democracy symposium on March 31, 2023. The talk will be ten minutes in length with five minutes for questions and is meant to gesture at the breadth of intellectual approaches applicable to technology regulation. This graduate student panel will follow a keynote lecture from Prof. Sheila Jasanoff, professor of science and technology studies at the Harvard Kennedy School and 2022 Holberg prize awardee, then an interdisciplinary panel discussion with professors from law, philosophy, and political science. Approaches to the core questions outlined above can be broad and interdisciplinary. Any research which addresses questions about social order and emerging technology, politics and technology, and law and technology are welcomed. 

Current University of Chicago undergraduate students are welcome to submit abstracts as well. One slot may be opened for a current undergraduate, depending on the rigor of submissions and the diversity of academic disciplines represented in the panel. 

Submissions of an abstract (250 words maximum) can be uploaded using the following Google form Please feel free to reach out to Austin Clyde (