Legal, ethical and social issues in a software defined world

Both the economy and society at large are going through a fundamental change arising from the fact that the very functionality of products and services in many domains is now determined by software ("software-defined everything"). Software not only plays a critical role for technological developments, innovation and the economy, but it is already increasingly affecting and interfering with the physical world and has proven to have the potential to affect and manipulate society substantially.

The aim of this session is to identify, understand and appropriately as well as anticipatory address immanent and emerging ethical, legal and social issues concerning software such as transparency of decision-making algorithms lying at the core of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and software liability aspects especially in the context of autonomous systems and the Internet of Things.

Detailed Workshop Outline


Introductory speeches by all speakers


Panel discussion focusing on the following themes:
• Risks and opportunities for society from AI, robotics & massive digitisation 
• Transparency, ethics (fairness, discrimination etc.), accountability and liability in AI & software
• Technical and regulatory (remedies, legislation etc) means to implement ethical, legal and social considerations in a software-defined world


Wrap-Up session - Magnus Franklin (MLex Market Insight)


Cesare Marco Pancini

Google Belgium

After the studies in Law, I started my professional career as part of the start-up project of iBazar, the first online auction website in Europe.
From 2002 to 2007 I was Head of legal and Trust and Safety at, the Italian subsidiary of the world biggest online marketplace.
In July 2007 I joined the Google team as policy counsel in charge of government relationship for the Italian market.
From February 2011 I'm member of the Google policy team in Brussels, where I'm leading the team dealing with the EU Commission and Council, as Director for public policy and Government relations.

Lutz Schubert

University of Ulm, Institute of Information Resource Management - deputy director, head of research

Lutz Schubert is head of research and deputy director of the Institute for Information Resource Management at the University of Ulm. The institute focuses on the Distributed and Embedded Computing, with strong research activities in Operating Systems, Cloud Computing and Software Engineering. Lutz Schubert is furthermore lecturer for Cloud Computing and High Performance Computing at the University. He has studied Computer Science, Philosophy and Archaeology, and is also one of the directors of the German CAA (Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology).

Sandra Wachter

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Dr. Sandra Wachter is a lawyer and Researcher in Data Ethics and Algorithms at the Oxford Internet Institute specialising on European, International, and human rights law as well as technology and data protection law. Her research focuses on the legal and ethical implications of Big Data, AI, and robotics as well as governmental surveillance, predictive policing, and human rights online. She serves as a policy advisor for governments and NGO’s around the world on regulatory and ethical questions concerning emerging technologies. She is also a member of the Law Committee of the IEEE. Her research focuses on ethical design of algorithms, including the development of standards and methods to ensure fairness, accountability, transparency, and interpretability in complex algorithmic systems. Sandra’s research also addresses legal and ethical aspects of robotics and autonomous systems, including liability, accountability, and privacy issues.

Konstantinos Karachalios

Managing Director, IEEE-SA

A globally recognized leader in standards development and intellectual property, Dr. Ing. Konstantinos Karachalios is managing director of the IEEE Standards Association and a member of the IEEE Management Council. As managing director, he has been enhancing IEEE efforts in global standards development in strategic emerging technology fields. As member of the IEEE Management Council, he championed expansion of IEEE influence in key techno-political areas, including consideration of social and ethical implications of technology, according to the IEEE mission to advance technology for humanity. Results have been rapid in coming and profound; IEEE is becoming the place to go for debating and building consensus on issues such as a trustworthy and inclusive Internet and ethics in design of autonomous systems. Konstantinos earned a Ph.D. in energy engineering (nuclear reactor safety) and masters in mechanical engineering from the University of Stuttgart.

Magnus Franklin

MLex Market Insight, Journalist

Magnus joined MLex in Brussels in 2008. He was previously an analyst and reporter on Informa Telecom and Media's newsletters. He provides comprehensive coverage of EU regulatory and legal developments in the telecoms, media and IT sectors both in Brussels and across Europe. Magnus studied journalism and economics at City University, London.