Universiteit Leiden

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Educating the youth of today to solve the challenges of tomorrow

In collaboration with the Honours Academy at Leiden University, Eduard Fosch-Villaronga and Hadassah Drukarch from eLaw - Center for Law and Digital Technologies, coordinated a Pre-University Class on Robot Law.

Robots, AI & society

Robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing the world. AI englobes 'systems that display intelligent behavior by analyzing their environment and taking actions – with some degree of autonomy – to achieve specific goals.' These technologies process vast amounts of data and support ulterior decision-making processes that can impact individuals and society at large, e.g., invading people's privacy or increasing inequality. AI also learns from experience and can self-improve its performance, which challenges the applicability of existing regulations that were not designed for progressive and adaptive technologies. Given these and many other questions AI raises, there is a growing need to understand the law's role and responsibility to frame this development.

One of the problems of the race to automate society is that we will not only be increasingly faced with many unaddressed legal questions and challenges, but we may even struggle to pose the right questions to start. That is why we need to educate the youth of today to solve the challenges of tomorrow.

Preparing next generations for the AI revolution

In an effort to prepare next generations for the legal and regulatory implications of the introduction and adoption of robots and AI in our society, the eLaw Center for Law and Digital Technologies at Leiden Law School has piloted a Pre-University Class on Robot Law.

Pre-University Classes are intended for upper secondary school pupils who want and are able to make an extra effort in addition to their regular secondary school program. In the Pre-University Classes, students follow a series of lectures which allows them to become acquainted with the world of science.

Robot Law

Over eight weeks, a class of 22 enthusiastic and highly motivated secondary school pupils became acquainted with digital technologies' legal, regulatory, and societal implications.

In the Robot Law Class, students were presented with the legal and regulatory consequences of robots’ use and development in society. Over the course of 8 weeks, the students joined a variety of different lectures offered by experts in the field from Leiden University and beyond.

Throughout these classes, the students became acquainted with the current robotics and AI landscape, the legal framework and main regulatory initiatives covering these new technologies in the EU and beyond, and particular challenges concerning privacy and data protection, transparency, diversity liability, accountability, and dignity. The course closed with a reflection on the long term opportunities and consequences of the growing use of robots in society.

Students impressions

During and following the course, we received lovely comments and great feedback from the students stressing how much they enjoyed the PRE-university experience and the Robot Law course. Want to hear it from them? Below are some of their impressions:

‘What I enjoyed most about the course was learning about all the different uses and perspectives of AI, I’ve learned how important the law is in this. Thank you so much for all the classes, I had a lot of fun and I’ve learned more than I could imagine.’ - Myrthe, 5 vwo.

‘What I enjoyed most during pre class was to be taught by different teachers and guest speakers who each knew many different things about the subject, and to experience in a fun way what it is like to study at university.’ - Noa, 5 vwo.

‘Thank you for teaching the course. What I enjoyed most in the course was the interactiveness of the course.’ - Chiara, 5 vwo.

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