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Legal and ethical issues of AI and emotional data are discussed at a conference


Researchers in law, ethics and technology will discuss legal and ethical issues of artificial intelligence and human emotional data in an international conference organized at the University of Lapland on June 6, 2023.

Technological applications currently use different kind of sensors to identify human emotion, such as emotional states, movements, facial expressions and body temperatures. This data could be used, for example, to produce products, to surveil dangerous situations, to make work spaces comfortable, to assess insurance risks, or in process of job applications or assistance of elderly.

The intrusive technologies and the collection and use of such sensitive and personal data involve many questions from legal and ethical perspectives: the topic must be examined from the perspectives of data protection, information security, GDPR, liability of artificial intelligence, intellectual property, trade secrecy, and even national security, among others.

At the Ethical and Legal aspects on Human-Technology Interoperability and AI Processing of Emotional Data conference organized at the University of Lapland, researchers of data protection and internet law will discuss the relationship between artificial intelligence and emotional data. The keynote speakers are from the Netherlands, the United States and Finland.

Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation Arno Lodder from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands will speak about artificial intelligence and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): what is the significance of data protection regulation when artificial intelligence uses emotional data?

Professor of Law Woodrow Hartzog from the University of Boston in the United States will talk about the duty of loyalty for emotion data. Currently, data privacy law fails to stop companies from engaging in self-serving, opportunistic behavior at the expense of those who trust them with data about their emotions, affect, and other sensitive bodily data. Academics and policymakers have recently proposed a possible solution: require those entrusted with people's data and online experiences to be loyal to those who trust them. Such a duty would be a revolution in data privacy and A.I. law.

Associate Professor of Internet Law Hingh, A.E. de will discuss the use of artificial intelligence in preventing online grooming (i.e. the online solicitation of children for sexual purposes). In Europe, there are different kind of actions which utilize A.I. to detect online grooming. Associate Professor Hingh, A.E. de will address the consequences of this type of regulation.

In addition, Professor Rosa Ballardini and University Researcher Rob van den Hoven van Genderen from the University of Lapland will speak about the legal challenges of artificial intelligence and emotional data; and Postdoctoral Researcher Béatrice Schütte will speak about the possible damage caused by emotionally intelligent artificial intelligence. In addition, there will be a video speech by Professor Ryan Calo from the University of Washington on socio-digital vulnerability.

The conference will be held at the University of Lapland on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. It is part of the Business Finland funded Human-technology interoperability and artificial emotional Intelligence (HIPE) research project. The project aims to develop emotionally intelligent and integrated services for physical spaces with the cooperation of VTT, the Faculty of Law of the University of Lapland, and business partners. The legal part of the project examines the legal and ethical issues related to such services.

Further information:

Rob van den Hoven van Genderen, University Researcher, rob.vandenhovenvangenderen (at)
Rosa Ballardini, Professor, rosa.ballardini (at)
Conference programme