About the seminar

Dr Jan De Bruyne was due to speak at UQ but sadly had to cut his visit short and return home to Belgium due to the Coronavirus.

That has not prevented Dr De Bruyne from delivering an incredible seminar addressing the legal and ethical frameworks that must be developed as AI systems evolve and are implemented across the European Union.  

You can stream and listen to the full presentation below, or download the slides only here.


2:25 - Defining AI and robots the 'European' way

6:54 - benefits and challenges of AI

11:00 - Legal frameworks on AI in the EU

13:25 - Current frameworks in the EU

     15:41 - there is no "AI law"

     27:03 - AI is already regulated in the EU

30:56 - Case study: Autonomous vehicles

     40:40 - Fault-based liability

     47:16 - Product liability

     56:04 - Recent initiatives

57:54 - Multi-Stakeholder approach

1:01:29 - Conclusions


Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an area of strategic importance and a key driver of economic development. It has many benefits and can bring solutions to several societal challenges. At the same time, however, legal and ethical challenges remain and have to be carefully addressed. It is, therefore, not surprising that the regulation of AI is probably one of the most debated legal topics in the European Union (EU) and several of its Member States. This debate has only been strengthened with the recent European Commission's White Paper on Artificial Intelligence – A European approach to excellence and trust.

Some argue that the law will need a fundamental make-over to deal with the reality of AI. The question that arises from a legal point of view is thus whether the existing longstanding legal principles are compatible with these technological evolutions or, instead, new legislation will need to be adopted. After a more general overview of the existing legal and ethical framework on AI in the European Union, I will proceed with an analysis of the situation for damage caused by AI systems such as autonomous vehicles to find an answer to that question. The analysis uncovers some difficulties in the application of traditional tort law principles. Reliance on a fault-based liability regime, for instance, will become uncertain in the context of autonomous vehicles. Liability in traffic-related matters will, therefore, evolve from a fault-based mechanism towards forms of strict liability. Particular attention is thereby given to the application of EU Product Liability Directive. It will eventually be assessed who should be held liable for the damage caused by self-driving cars and other AI systems by extension (de lege ferenda).

About the presenter

Dr Jan De Bruyne works as a senior academic researcher on legal and ethical aspects of AI at the Flemish Knowledge Center for Data and Society. He is a lecturer and postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP) of the University of Leuven. He also works as a postdoctoral researcher on AI and liability at the Ghent University Faculty of Law and Criminology. He successfully defended his PhD in September 2018 on a topic dealing with legal aspects of third-party certifiers. He was an assistant in comparative and private law at the Ghent University Faculty of Law and Criminology from October 2012 to October 2018. He has been a Van Calker Fellow at the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law, a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of European and Comparative Law of Oxford University and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for European Legal Studies of the University of Cambridge.

About Research Seminar Series

The UQ Law Research Seminar Series provides an opportunity to explore and critically discuss legal and interdisciplinary issues in an academic environment. The seminars are an integral part of the School’s research culture.

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