Accountability, AI & Art

CPDP 2021: Enforcing Rights in a Changing World

CPDP is an annual three-day conference devoted to privacy and data protection. The overarching theme of the 2021 edition is "Enforcing rights in a changing world”. The 14th edition of CPDP was held on 27-29th January 2021 online due to the corona restrictions. All the information can be found on their website.

Artountability: AI, Art, and Accountability

This panel combines perspectives on Art, Society, & Technology. In particular, it focuses on artistic perspectives on algorithmic accountability. The panel starts with an overview of how the Arts play an essential role in intervening in critical social issues, such as labor politics, privacy, and education. The panel will then draw our attention to a specific case scenario, i.e., urban algorithmic accountability. We will learn about the digitization of cities and how municipal data professionals can give testimony of algorithmic-based decisions that affect citizens. The panel closes with some artistic perspectives on transparency and the role that education plays in stressing the importance of being accountable in an increasingly algorithmic society.

The panel discussion will be divided into three clusters:

  • The Interplay of Art, Society and Technology

  • Algorithmic Accountability and Art

  • Art, Education, and Responsibility

Peter Booth is Associate Professor II at BI Norwegian Business School connected to the Nordic Centre for Internet and Society and BI’s Centre for Creative Industries. His research broadly covers sociology of art and finance, artist labour, and the impact of technologies on the arts and museum sectors.

Fiona McDermott is a researcher based at CONNECT, the Research Centre for Future Communications and Networks at Trinity College Dublin. Her research explores the social and cultural implications of data-driven technologies, with a particular focus on autonomous systems, data infrastructures, and urban governance.

The Interplay of Art, Society and Technology

In the Artountability Panel, Peter and Fiona gave an input presentation on the EU Project Artsformation in arts, society, & technology. Peter will briefly outline the scope and aims of the Artsformation project, and will present key processes by which the arts may impact digital transformation. Fiona will discuss the interplay between the Arts and enterprise in relation to digital transformation, she will present examples from three different relationships between the Arts and enterprise; residing, consulting and embedding, and she will discuss some of the opportunities and limitations for how these types of Arts/enterprise engagements might intervene in critical socio-political issues emerging from contemporary technology development

Algorithmic Accountability and Art

Lucas Evers is Head of Program of the Make group of Waag - Technology & Society in Amsterdam, where he is involved in several projects that concern the interactions between the arts and sciences, varying from arts and biotechnologies, arts and robotics, arts and digital transformation.

In the Artountability Panel, Lucas introduced different projects focusing on algorithmic accountability and art (Anatomy of an AI by Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler, Constrained Cities by Art is Open Source, Training Humans by Kate Crawford and Trevor Paglen, Normalising Machine by Mushon Zer-Aviv).

Maranke Wieringa is a Ph.D. Candidate and lecturer at Utrecht University, where she is affiliated with the Datafied Society research platform. Her current research focuses on algorithmic accountability in Dutch municipalities.

In the Artountability Panel, Maranke introduced a project in which she co-designs a practical tool to foster algorithmic accountability together with practitioners (BIAS).

Art, Education, and Responsibility

Piera Riccio is an artist and Engineering student from Politecnico di Torino (Italy) and EURECOM-Telecom Paris (France). Her main interest is to experiment with the artistic potentialities of Artificial Intelligence; while also focusing on its humanitarian and ethical risks. She is currently working as a research assistant for the FeLT project at Oslo Metropolitan University, developing an AI+Art installation as her Master’s thesis. She is also affiliated with MetaLAB (at) Harvard, an idea foundry, knowledge-design lab, and production studio experimenting in the networked arts and humanities.

In the Artountability Panel, Piera presented AI Oracle, an interactive art installation that addresses the topic of bias and discrimination due to autonomous decision making in working contexts.

Vincent Rioux is the head of the digital division of the National Superior School of Fine Arts in Paris since 2010.

In the Artountability Panel, Vincent will talk about the role of education at the intersection of accountability and art.

  • How the complex ( technical toolboxes of AI can be used and understood by art students ? Following the findings of Gilbert Simondon and John Dewey, this could be achieved if great care is taken both for explaining the precise functions and behaviours of these apparently mental-like devices and for going through deep experiences tracing collectively an artistic path.

  • Why most of the artistic works produced by AI look like hallucinations ( ? It may well be so that a responsible use of such techniques might require a transition from visual and textual imagination to a digital and procedural thinking. And here a specific treatment of recursivity and amplification functions found in our information technology systems might help.


Eduard Fosch-Villaronga

Eduard Fosch-Villaronga is Assistant Professor at the eLaw Center for Law and Digital Technologies at Leiden University (NL).

Aurelia Tamò-Larrieux

Aurelia Tamò-Larrieux is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of St. Gallen and at the Digital Society Initiative (DSI) at the University of Zurich.

Christoph Lutz

Christoph Lutz is an associate professor at the Nordic Centre for Internet and Society (NCIS), BI Norwegian Business School (Oslo).

Book Chapter

The reflections that arose in the workshop have been reflected in the book organized by the CPDP Conference. For more details and references, see Booth, P. Evers, L., Fosch-Villaronga, E., Lutz, C., McDermott, F., Riccio, P., Rioux, V., Sears, A. M., Tamò-Larrieux, A., & Wieringa, M. (2021). Artountability: Art & Algorithmic Accountability. Hallinan, D.; Leenes, R., and Hert, P. de (2020) Data Protection and Privacy, 14, Enforcing Rights in a Changing World. Oxford: Hart Publishing.