International symposium – Society, AI and Normativities: Scientific Contributions to the International Agenda on AI Regulation

Date: 14 – 16 February 2023    |    Location : Montreal / Zoom Events   |    Pre-registration

This symposium will address issues of AI normativity from a societal perspective. As AI expands, its economic potential grows and blind spots are revealed. Canada and many other countries around the world have made major investments to develop a competitive ecosystem, but the expected benefits for the economy and for the society are surrounded by risks: breach of personal information, discrimination, racist, social or gender bias, social control, loss of autonomy, etc. A worldwide awareness of the ethical, legal, and societal stakes has already led to the development of the first ethical frameworks and more than 200 guidelines, codes, frameworks or other ethical standards adopted by various stakeholders (governments, civil society, private companies).

This symposium proposes to make a critical and balanced review of the ethics of AI, to identify the priorities for the development of this disciplinary field and to make an overview of the normative tools that frame the development of AI before exploring the normative plurality that frames the deployment of AI (ethical, legal and technical sources, soft and hard norms, general or sector-based standards). We will also discuss the tools of AI governance that have been developed to shift from “declaration” to action and identify the elements that underlie the different modes of AI governance. Finally, we propose to reflect on the issues of power, participation and inclusion in the processes of normative construction in order to deconstruct the universalizing representation of AI and to promote the integration of a wider spectrum of concerns, including that of users as actors in their own right

The discussion of these questions and perspectives with researchers, practitioners and civil society actors will actively participate in enriching and rethinking the normative initiatives related to AI, for the benefit of society, groups and individuals.


Tuesday, February 14th

Session 1 - A Review of AI Ethics: Where Are We Now? What Should We Expect?

1:30 p.m. / 5 p.m.

    • Introductory remarks – Jocelyn Maclure (McGill University)
  • The Algorithmic is Political – Annette Zimmermann (Université de York)
  • Thin ethics for AI: Good engineers – Vincent C. Müller (Université technique d’Eindhoven)
  • Between Ethics and Law : The Regulation of AI – Sandra Watcher (Université d’Oxford)
  • Discussion

Wednesday, February 15th

Session 2 - The normative plurality of the legal approach

9 a.m. / 12 p.m.

  • Normative Plurality(ies) in AI Law: Comparative Perspectives – Céline Castets-Renard (University of Ottawa)
  • What Legal Normativity(ies) of AI in Canada? – Georges Azzaria (Laval University)
  • Digital Law Reforms in Canada and Quebec and the Framework of AI – Pierre Trudel (Université de Montréal)
  • What Contribution(s) Do Canadian and Quebec Data Laws Make to the AI Framework? – Anne-Sophie Hulin (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Thinking About the Legal Norm of AI – Caroline Lequesne-Roth (Université Côte d’Azur)
  • Discussion

Session 3 - Governance, government and governmentality of and through AI

2 p.m. / 5 p.m.

  • Introductory remarks – Marc-Antoine Dilhac (University of Montreal)
  • Algorithmic Power and Politics – Taina Bucher (University of Oslo, to be confirmed)
  • The Government of AI: a Question of Trust – Thierry Ménissier (Université Grenoble Alpes)
  • Algorithmic Governmentality and Facticity – Antoinette Rouvroy (FRS-FNRS)

Session 4 - Public panel: From The Declaration of Principles to the Legal Framework: A Look Back at the Tools of AI Governance and Cocktail

6 p.m. / 7:30 p.m.

Moderated by Marc-Antoine Dilhac (Université de Montréal), with :

    • Karine Perset (OECD)
    • Nathalie Smuha (KU Leuven)
    • Catherine Régis (University of Montreal)

Thursday, February 16th

Session 5 - Panel: What issues, problems and challenges with AI normative initiatives?

9 a.m. / 11:30 p.m.

Moderated by Allison Marchildon (Université de Sherbrooke) with :
    • Carly King (Ada Lovelace)
  • David Leslie (Alan Turing Institute)
  • Marie-Pascale Pomey (Université de Montréal)
  • Paola Ricaurte Quijano (Berkman Klein Center)
  • Marie-Claude Sécher (CDPQ)

Session 6 - Panel : Alternative perspectives on ethics and normativities in AI: for a «decolonized» and more «relational»AI

1:30 p.m. / 3:30 p.m.

Moderated by Karine Gentelet (Université du Québec en Outaouais), with :

    • Virginia Dignum (Université d’Umeå)
  • Thierry Lindor (Colors of COVID)
  • Aaditeshwar Seth (IIT Delhi)
  • Kristophina Shilongo (Research ICT Africa)


This project is financially supported by the following organizations:

Scientific Committee

  • Céline Castets-Renard

    Professor, Faculty of Law, Chair on Accountable Artificial Intelligence in a Global Context

    University of Ottawa

  • Marc-Antoine Dilhac

    Professeur au Département de philosophie à la Faculté des arts et des sciences, titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en Éthique publique

    Université de Montréal

  • Karine Gentelet

    Holder of the Abeona-ENS-OBVIA Chair on AI and Social Justice, Professor at the Department of Social Sciences

    Université du Québec en Outaouais

  • Lyse Langlois

    Professor, Department of Industrial Relations, Executive Director of OBVIA and Director of the Institute of Applied Ethics (IDEA)

    Université Laval

  • Jocelyn Maclure

    Professor, Faculté de philosophie

    Université McGill

  • Allison Marchildon

    Professor, Department of Philosophy and Applied Ethics, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

    Université de Sherbrooke

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The International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology is made possible by the support of the Fonds de recherche du Québec.