On 8 July, the Institute for Digital Law Trier (IRDT) of the Trier University organised the international and interdisciplinary online conference concerning the EU Commission's proposal of an Artificial Intelligence Act of 21 April 2021.

Please take note of the Programme

The EU starts regulating AI

On 21 April 2021, the EU Commission published a proposal of an EU regulation on Artificial Intelligence, thereby starting the legislative process of the first ‘Artificial Intelligence Act’ worldwide. The regulation, based on the EU’s competence for the internal market and data protection, envisages harmonised rules for AI systems placed on the market or put into service in the EU, AI systems used by users located in the EU, or AI systems whose output is used in the EU. It distinguishes three classes of AI practice. Some practices are prohibited (1), i.e. the use of real-time remote biometric identification systems and of social scores by public authorities, and – more generally – certain forms of deploying subliminal technical or exploiting vulnerabilities of persons due to their age or a disability. Some AI systems qualified as ‘high-risk’, e.g. those used in employment and education, in the management of critical infrastructure or in law enforcement (2), have to comply with rules concerning risk management, data governance, transparency, human oversight, robustness, and registration, among others. Finally, all AI systems intended to interact with natural persons (3) have to respect transparency requirements.

The Artificial Intelligence Act merits assessments from different perspectives. Does the Act reflect a proper understanding of the technical and normative challenges posed by AI? Does it strike the right balance between limiting risks from AI and enabling its reasonable use? How suitable are the proposed legal instruments to regulate AI? What is the relationship between the AI Act and other EU laws such as the GDPR? Is it useful to grant the Commission the power to expand the scope of the Act by amending the Annex? What would this AI regulation mean for the ‘competition of systems’ between the EU, the US and China? We discussed these questions with our panellist and a broader audience at our conference.


Benjamin Raue, Director IRDT
Benjamin Raue is professor of law at Trier University and Academic Director of the Institute for Digital Law Trier (IRDT). His research and teaching focus are both on information society law and intellectual property law. In addition to classic intellectual property law topics related to digitalization, he specializes in platform liability and regulation of artificial intelligence. Together with Antje von Ungern-Sternberg, he organized the academic conference of the 63rd Bitburger Gespräche: Legal Challenges of Artificial Intelligence. They also founded the Trier Talks on Law and digitalization, which the Institute continues to host. He regularly holds lectures and seminars on intellectual property law and the law of Digital Humanities.
Antje von Ungern-Sternberg, Director IRDT
Antje von Ungern-Sternberg analyzes the challenges of digitization from constitutional, comparative, and international law perspectives. She is particularly interested in legal and ethical questions surrounding autonomous systems, the effects of digitization on democracy and statehood, human autonomy in the face of new forms of surveillance and control, and discrimination through the use of algorithms.

Prof. Dr. von Ungern-Sternberg teaches courses on data law. Together with Prof. Dr. Raue, she founded the Trier Talks on Law and Digitization, which the IRDT continues to host.


Mireille Hildebrandt, Prof. on Interfacing Law and Technology, Free University Brussels
Mireille Hildebrandt is a Research Professor of ‘Interfacing Law and Technology’ at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and parttime Professor of ‘Smart Environments, Data Protection and the Rule of Law’ at Radboud University in The Netherlands. She holds an ERC Avanced Grant on ‘Counting as a Human Being in the Era of Computational Law’ (www.cohubicol.com).
Paul Nemitz, Principal Advisor for DG Justice and Consumers, EU-Commission
Paul Nemitz is the Principal Adviser on Justice Policy in the European Commission. He was appointed in April 2017, following a 6-year appointment as Director for Fundamental Rights and Citizen’s Rights in the EU Commission. As Director, Nemitz led the reform of Data Protection legislation in the EU, the negotiations of the EU – US Privacy Shield and the negotiations with major US Internet Companies of the EU Code of Conduct against incitement to violence and hate speech on the Internet. He is a Member of the Global Council on Extended Intelligence of the IEEE and the MIT in Boston.
Ugo Pagallo, Prof. of Jurisprudence, University of Torino
A former lawyer and current professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Turin (Italy), he is Faculty Fellow at the Center for Transnational Legal Studies in London, U.K., and Vice-President of the Italian Association of Legal Informatics. Author of twelve monographs, a hundred essays in scholarly journals and book chapters, he has been member of many EU projects and researches, among which the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on liability and new technologies formation, set up by the European Commission in 2018. He is currently working with the World Health Organization in the AI4H(ealth) project.
Frank Pasquale, Prof. of Law, Brooklyn Law School
Frank Pasquale is an expert on the law of AI, algorithms, and machine learning. He is a Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, a Visiting Scholar at the AI Now Institute, an Affiliate Fellow at Yale University's Information Society Project, a member of the American Law Institute, and a member of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence on Automated Decision-Making & Society (ADM+S). His book The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information (Harvard University Press 2015) has been recognized as a landmark study on the law and political economy of information. His New Laws of Robotics: Defending Human Expertise in the Age of AI (Harvard University Press 2020) rethinks the political economy of automation, to promote human capacities as the irreplaceable center of an inclusive economy.
Monika Schlachter, Prof. at the Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union, Trier University
Monika Schlachter, born in 1957, is professor for civil law, labour law and international private law. Since the 1st of October 2008, she has been director of the legal team in the IAAEU. After completing her undergrad study of law in Göttingen, she earned her PhD in Göttingen in 1986. In 1992 she completed her habilitation in Göttingen. From 1993 to 2005, she was professor for civil law, labour law, comparative law and international private law at the University of Jena. She also volunteered as a judge for the Labour Court of Jena until 2006. In addition to that, she was active as an expert for the EC and since 2007 has been a member of the European Committee of Social Rights for the European Council. Until October 2008, she was professor for civil law, labour law and comparative law at the University of Regensburg.
Ingo Timm, Prof. of Business Informatics, Trier University, Co-Spokesman of the AI Section of the German Informatics Society
Ingo Timm is chaired professor at Trier University, team leader at German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), co-spokesperson of the section on AI (FBKI) of the German Informatics Society (GI), and member of the thinktank ZOES e.V. on public safety. He received PhD (2004) and venia legendi (2006) in computer science and worked as researcher at the universities Bremen, Ilmenau, and IUPUI (USA). Timm was appointed full professor at U Frankfurt (2006) and U Trier (2010). He is working on cognitive social simulation and AI in various applications and domains, e.g., information management, modeling & simulation in COVID-19 pandemics.
Félicien Vallet, AI lead, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), France
Félicien Vallet is AI lead at the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), the French data protection authority. His role is to coordinate the actions related to Artificial Intelligence in a transversal way within the institution. Félicien Vallet is also a regular contributor to the LINC, CNIL's Digital Innovation Laboratory. He frequently interacts with the academic research community and its institutions in France and in Europe. Before joining the CNIL, he was a researcher at the French National Audiovisual Institute (INA) and was particularly interested in issues relating to automatic information extraction, multimedia content analysis and speech signal processing. He holds engineering and doctoral degrees in Computer Science from Télécom Paris (obtained in 2007 and 2011 respectively).
Christiane Wendehorst, LL.M. (Cantab.), Prof. of Civil Law, University of Vienna, Co-Spokesperson of the German Data Ethics Commission
Christiane Wendehorst has been Professor of Civil Law at the University of Vienna since 2008. Amongst other functions, she is founding member and President of the European Law Institute (ELI), Chair of the Academy Council of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), Co-Head of the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law, and member of the Managing Board of the Austrian Jurists' Association (ÖJT), as well as the Bioethics Committee at the Austrian Federal Chancellery. From 2018-2019 she co-chaired the Data Ethics Commission of the German Federal Government.