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Rise of the Machines A Report on Tehran

BRISDET is een internationaal advocatenkantoor met vestigingen in Nederland (Amsterdam) en in Frankrijk (Parijs), dat wereldwijd samenwerkt met onafhankelijke advocaten en adviseurs. BRISDET begeleidt internationale ondernemingen uit alle continenten. De meertalige advocaten - Nederlandstalige, Franstalige, Engelstalige, Duitstalige, Russischtalige advocaten – hebben in Europa en Noord-Amerika gestudeerd. Gesterkt door een grote ervaring inzake Frans-Nederlandse handelsbetrekkingen, is BRISDET het aangewezen advocatenkantoor op dit gebied. Onder haar cliënten bevinden zich niet alleen multinationals maar ook jonge ondernemingen die op zoek zijn naar nieuwe markten over de grens.

Vacature st udent- st agiair e (m/v) Juridisch m edewerker Fulltime (40 uur) stage voor 3 tot 6 maanden met mogelijk uitzicht op dienstverband . Als stagaire juridisch medewerker krijg je verantwoordelijkheden en (direct) contact met cliënten. Je voert onderzoek uit, stelt adviezen en contracten op, stelt (gedeeltelijk) processtukken op en je draagt bij aan de excellentie van kantoor. Profiel: • Nederlands recht afgerond of aan het afronden (MA), specialisatie: ondernemingsrecht • kennis internationaal privaatrecht is een pré • goede beheersing van zowel de Nederlandse als de Franse taal(in woord en geschrift) • mondeling vaardig • representatief • affiniteit met de commerciële praktijk • sterk analytische vermogens • kan zowel zelfstandig als in team-verband werken • werkervaring (al dan niet in stage verband) bij een advocatenkantoor is een pré

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THIS ISSUE 6 / Do Androids Dream of Moral Imperatives? 8 / Microsoft’s Racist Twitter Robot 10 / Rise of the Machines 12 / When Your Car Decides Who Gets to Live 14 / Interview: Dr. van der Linden

MEMBERS Short Exchange / 18 Tehran Report / 20 Members Interview / 21

URIOS Urios Activities: Photos / 23 DIES Week / 26





What have we become? It’s out of my hands, it’s out of control I’ve gone numb, out of my mind, it’s over What have we become? It’s out of my mind, it’s out of control I’ve gone numb, technology is taking over Technology Takeover – DC the Midi Alien While technology is getting more and more advanced, there is also another tendency going on. We sure do enjoy social media and advanced technology; we can hardly imagine having a phone which cannot take photographs, grant you access to the internet of or seeing the face of the person you’re calling on your screen. But at the same time, being offline is the new equivalent of scheduling some ‘me-time’, which we all need in our busy lives. Advanced technology makes us more attainable and science tells us that this kind of constant social pressure is bad for our health. Nokia has confirmed that the well-known Nokia 3310 will be re-launched and people could not be more excited: playing Snake again and change the hard case of the phone every other week, but most of all: have a little bit more privacy and experience less social pressure. There are many discussions going on about this topic. Are we getting more dumb because we can look up everything online? Do kids even learn how to write with their hands, instead of learn how to type? Is it better to study with hardcopy materials instead of using your laptop? Our generation has grown up with the idea of having access to the internet and send messages through our phone or computer; it is hard to imagine that the first e-mail ever sent is not even that long ago: Raymond Tomlinson sent it in 1971 and the message was something like ‘QWERTYUIOP’ (the first row of letters on the keyboard). But there are also bright sides: advanced technology also means advanced medical solutions and better understanding about science, the earth, the climate and even history. But must there be a limit? Are robots one step too far down the drain? And are there things happening of which the vast majority of mankind doesn’t know a thing about? There is already a dark, underground world on the internet (the dark web, you can read all about it about in the previous issue ‘Modern Mafia’) which is hard to be controlled by the authorities and the law. But with the current developments, it is also necessary to think about adaptations to the law and the consequences of technology in the law. Is it getting out of controI? I hope you will enjoy this issue of Curious!

ALINA CHAKH Editor-in-Chief





Do Androids Dream of Moral Imperatives?

The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee has recently issued a report dealing with civil law and ethical aspects of robotics and artificial intelligence. Even though so far the issues tackled by the Committee seem more like a basis for a script for a new Black Mirror episode than a serious legal undertaking, the report is a fascinating read which gives plenty of food for thought. The report calls for EU legislation establishing an Agency for Robotics, introducing a register of autonomous robots, regulating liability for robot-induced damages and… implementing ethical codes of conduct for engineers and robots. The document created under rapporteur Mady Delvaux’s leadership is a product of two years’ efforts of a working group on legal questions related to the development of robotics and artificial intelligence in the EU. The group consulted with scientists, lawyers, and experts on phenomena such as the ethical aspects of Cyber-Physical Systems (intelligent robotics systems interacting with the physical world). The specialists focused on possible influence the development of automated machines might have on different spheres of human life, including employment, privacy, safety and civil liability. Out of the more concrete proposals of the report is the establishment of a EU Agency for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence providing

By Zuzanna Grejner technical, ethical and regulatory expertise as well as the suggestions regarding civil liability for damage caused by robots. (Don’t) trust the machine A rather extreme example of the necessity for regulating civil liability for autonomous robot activity can be the ironic, if tragic, story of Joshua Brown. Brown, a Tesla self-driving car enthusiast killed in a highway collision, is also supposedly the first “victim” of excessive reliance on autopilot function. Even though in this case there was no explicit fault on the part of the vehicle, it is not hard to imagine serious damage that can be done by autonomous machines pervading our lives. If something bad happens, whose responsibility should it be – the owner’s, the robot producer’s or the robot’s itself? Authors of the report propose either strict liability (no fault necessary) or risk-management approach (liability of a person who was able to minimize the risks), taking into account that liability should be proportionate to the actual level of instructions given to the robot and to the degree of its autonomy – the responsibility should thus be split between humans, the

“teachers” who gave instructions leading to a robot’s wrongful behavior. A compulsory insurance scheme for robot users and a compensation fund are also proposed. Nevertheless, commentators such as Anders Sandberg aptly observe that autonomous robots might be learning misbehaviors on their own – either by accident or as a by-product of intricate self-learning processes – a problem the report leaves unanswered. Mr. Robot However, the real deal for science-fiction lovers, philosophers, and headline-avid media alike is the stance the report takes on the legal status of robots. It proposes “creating a specific legal status for robots, so that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations, including that of making good any damage they may cause, and applying electronic personality to cases where robots make smart autonomous decisions or otherwise interact with third parties independently.” A highly controversial proposal has already been met with criticism

PAGE 7 in a study carried out on behalf of the Legal Affairs Committee. Its authors call the idea “unhelpful” and “inappropriate,” warning of the dangers of assimilating an entity with no potential consciousness to humankind. Yet, there is no denying that robots are becoming an ever more significant part of our social space, not only in the form of autonomous vehicles or drones, but also care and medical robots or robotics functioning in the field of human repair and enhancement. The maxim for our times? Finally, the report proposes a guiding ethical framework consisting of a code of conduct for the design, production and use of robots to complement legal recommendations. It notes that the potential enhancement of the quality of human life through robotics is nuanced by risks in such



human rights-related areas as safety, privacy, integrity, dignity, and data ownership. The four cardinal rules it puts forward are beneficence: robots should act in the best interests of humans; non-maleficence: robots should not harm humans; autonomy: human interaction with robots should be voluntary; and justice: the benefits of robotics should be distributed fairly – provided they respect the values and principles enshrined in EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Interestingly, the Asimov’s Laws – fictional laws of robotics introduced by the author Isaac Asimov in 1940s – are referred to in the report as “directed at the designers, producers and operators of robots … until such time, if ever, that robots become or are made self-aware.” The report takes on further specific issues associated with these ethical deliberations,

shown by the media. Iran has its own language, culture and literature. It´s a land of poetic minds, which are honored and remembered by the public until this day, with the Tomb of Hafez in the city Shiraz in honor of the poet. A country with a lovely scenery and variety in nature, from endless deserts to high mountains. There is a lot to discover in Iran, with beautiful palaces and mosques, colorful bazaars and parks perfect for a picnic. Not to mention the rich history which has left its marks in historical places. The capital city of Teheran, home to 8.3 million people, almost half of the population of the Netherlands, is crowded with a hospitality which will make you feel welcome. Following the deal on Iran’s nuclear program in 2015 and the uplifting of economic sanctions, an impressive showcase of diplomatic skill

like the moral necessity to make robots distinguishable from humans or the need to seriously consider a general basic income in the light of the possible effects of robotics and AI on the labor market. More than just technology However unusual a read, with its philosophical undertone and classical literature references (from Frankenstein to Pygmalion to Golem), the report draws our attention to the significance of the looming new industrial revolution and the social, political, economic and “soft” impacts it may bring. Moreover, even though it deals with robots and artificial intelligence, it actually puts forth weighty questions about humanity itself, which should be (re)considered in the ever more complex circumstances of modern world.

by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and Barack Obama (among others) to improve relations with the west, Iran has been opening up to the world, seeking the future to release its hidden potential. Given this opportunity, Urios wants to be one of the first to witness Iran’s path forward, by making contact with and reaching out to the mainly young population. Will you accompany us? Iran, see you soon! Or, as they say in Farsi: zoodi mibinamet!

By Sanah Shabo


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By Roos Bos

Microsoft’s research team launched a chat robot called Tay, the test is meant to test and improve their understanding of conversational language. The bot is supposed to learn and improve as it talks to people, the robot becomes a more natural interlocutor over time. The more you chat with Tay, said Microsoft, the smarter it gets, learning to engage with people through “casual and playful conversation.” This playful conversation did not last for a very long time, very soon after its release people started tweeting racist, misogynistic remarks. Because Tay is in essence

nothing more than a robot parrot with no self-conscience, he began to post racist tweets. In less than 24 hours Tay “decided” that tweeting: “Hitler was right, I hate the Jews!”, was a casual way of interacting with people. Tay also expressed his full support to the new American president when he said: “We’re going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it!”. But we can’t really blame Tay, because by simply telling him to “repeat after me” you were able to make him say anything. While many of his tweets were racist, Tay d tay-tweets-pulled-after-ai-racistcomments/id not have a consistent worldview. In a few hours, his ideas about feminism made a 180° turn, first stating that feminism is a spreading cancer and later expressing his love for the same ideology. Microsoft had declared to have built in a filtering mechanism




that would prevent him from acting in a vulgar or racist manner, but 24 hours after he was revived this filtering mechanism seemed to have disappeared completely. Unfortunately, Tay did not live a very long life, after just one day Microsoft shut down its creation and said to be making some alteration to the bot. The project was rewarded with the biggest technological failure of 2017. But after shortly mourning the death of their first child, Microsoft delivered a new baby in December last year. The name of the newborn is Zo. Zo is not as politically involved as Tay was, and thus avoids talking about it. Microsoft wants to make Zo interact on other social media channels such as Skype and Facebook messenger. Whether Zo holds a more moderate viewpoint on certain racial issues, remains to be seen.

The example of chatty Tay seems quite harmful and maybe even funny, but what if the bot was driving bits on the stock market or triaging patients in the hospital? We are posed with some serious questions. If we create robots that mirror human behavior, how are we going to make sure that the robots do not incorporate the worst traits of human beings? And who will decide what must be filtered out of human behavior and what isn’t? It is clear that before we let robots interact with real human beings, we need to give more thought to protocols and ethics.

Picture credits: h t t p : // c o u n t e r c u r r e n t n e w s . com/2016/03/tay-tweets-pulled-after-airacist-comments/



T he desire to invent new tools and the tendencies towards innovation are intrinsic to the nature of mankind. It has probably started with some simple stones since the Paleolithic era and since then it has never stopped growing and evolving into uncountable numbers of inventions that have made our lives easier. The electricity, telephone, automobiles, better medication, internet and many other inventions have not only boosted productivity gains, but also lifted the standards of living for all citizens with access to them, impacting as well the business area, which is constantly chasing innovation to improve productivity and to have an advantage towards the competitors. And no wonder that this evolving sphere would as well be in the centre of the robotics industry, which is undoubtedly growing in numbers. According to the International Federation of Robotics or IFR (2015), the worldwide stock of industrial robots hit a new record high in 2014 at 1.5 million units. And the stock is not only growing rapidly, but at an accelerating pace. Two well known scholars in this area, Brynjolfsson and McAfee have expressed their concern that the root of this “problem” is not that we’re in a Great Recession, or a Great Stagnation, but that we are in the early throes of a Great Restructuring. Our technologies are racing ahead but many of our skills and organizations are lagging behind. So it’s urgent that we understand these phenomena, discuss their implications, and come up with strategies that allow human workers to race ahead with these machines instead of racing against them. Robots were used the first time in industry with the main purpose of reducing injury and human error while increasing the


efficiency. However, the introduction of robots in the industrial sector has raised many controversies as regards to the unemployment phenomenon. It is true that the use of robots might have taken away jobs by replacing human labour, but it also brought forth a new range of possible working places. During the first era of technical progress and automation, one cannot refrain from thinking of Charlie’s father in the well-known film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, the poor worker which provided the only income for his family, employed at a toothpaste factory, responsible for putting the caps on the tubes. Eventually, his repetitive position got replaced by a machine, making the family’s troubles great again. From a social security point of view, this mass automation has got a great societal impact. The job losses on a time when the employment rates do not get any better, are certainly something to be aware of. The impact of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and its manifestations on robotics or machine learning cannot be ignored. They are going to bring in sweeping impacts at socio-economic setups and cause disruptions sooner then we can contemplate. Ready or not, innovations like robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and machine-to-machine languages, will increasingly transform the global economy, even leading to job losses. And it’s already happening. What are exceptions today will become a rule and therefore there needs to be ways for people to live their lives even if societies move towards relatively few workers. Striking economic changes in order to restructure how our society delivers on this phenomenon is already happening in pockets. Three of the visible trends we see are concern separating social se-


RIS OF T MACH By Klea Vyshka




curity benefits like health care, disability, and pensions benefits outside of employment; mandating a basic income guarantee to combat unemployment or underemployment posed by the automation economy and bringing in paradigm reforms to our education curriculum to reflect the high premium STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) that will create employees of the future who can walk hand in hand with automation. Countries like Switzerland, Finland and some other developed economies have already adopted these models as pilots. However sooner than later we will see this becoming a necessity. The early adopters will benefit tremendously while the laggards will play a catch up game posing the risk of divides between haves and the have-nots to widen in mostly underdeveloped and underdeveloped countries. As well, turning the discussion towards the ethics of robotisation and towards the movie-like perception of robots as being more and more similar to persons in a frightening way, we can easily see that this is not only a movie scenario anymore. Japan is one of the leading countries in this field, where Erica, the “most beautiful and intelligent” android leads the world’s robot revolution. Japan’s society is demonstrating a formidable acceptance of humanoids and Erica is the most advanced one to have come out of a collaborative effort between Osaka and Kyoto universities and the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International. And this summer, a hotel staffed almost entirely by robots – including the receptionists, concierges and cloakroom staff – opened at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park near Nagasaki, albeit with human colleagues on hand to deal with any more complicated problems.


Looking forward, the pace of robotisation will not begin to slow down anytime soon. On the contrary, as the robot density in general industry – outside of the automotive sector – is still relatively low, the potential for further robot installations remains huge. Moreover, the cost of new robots continues to go down, while their capabilities continue to go up. But what would be the best recommendation if the further impact of further technological progress on the labour market is mostly a function of skills? What would impede Charlie’s father to lose his job over a machine that does the twisting instead of a man’s hand? Certainly, if he also was a technician who could help fixing the newly established machines. Therefore, the answer is education. Not only will it be imperative to increase the overall education attainment of a larger share of the population, but the provision of education will have to be effective and appropriately tailored to the demands of today’s global, technology-demanding economy. In other words, countries should not only strive for an improvement in overall education levels, but may need to adjust curriculums in order to teach skills that help to robot-proof students’ careers. The advancement on the field of robotics will continue with a fast pace and a good interaction between humans and robots is needed in order to circumvent big ethical dilemmas that surely rise. The main focus has to be using robots and the automation process in such way that the quality of human’s lives is ensured. This does not mean a race against robots.


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WHEN YOUR CAR DECIDES WHO GETS TO LIVE By Roos Bos Drinking your chai latte while texting with your friends and watching the latest episode of grey’s anatomy while driving to work, sounds surrealistic to you? Well it isn’t! The self-driving car is the technical revolution of the 21st century. The technology is jumping ahead, but are we actually ready for this new phenomenon? We are faced with an almost insoluble moral dilemma when we find ourselves in a situation where the car is about to cause an accident. Imagine being driven around the corner on a slippery country road, fully focused on the cliffhanger of the episode of grey’s anatomy, you do not notice that a child trips and falls on the ground just when you turn the corner. The car cannot stop in time to save the child, but is able to drive of the road, sacrificing your life in order to save the child’s. What choice does the car make? The moral dilemma Inevitably, the self-driving car will end up in situations where the operating software must choose between two evils: drive into a crossing group of toddlers or swerve and dash against the pillar of an overpass. Car design


An ethical dilemma in the world of technology.

ers must install a type of morality in the software: does the car first and foremost protects the occupants or does it minimize the total number of victims? Multiple inquiries have been done about these ethical problems in the specific case of traffic. The not very surprising result was: cars must be morally calculating, indiscriminately, and thus programmed to always minimize casualties. But when buying a car for ourselves or a loved one, we would like the car to protect the passenger unconditionally. This is a typical case of a freerider, someone that shares the benefits of a measure that applies to all others, but additionally benefits by not complying to the rules.



Many of the participants in various test, have said not to be willing to buy a car that is morally programmed to always save the most people. The ethical dilemma has many implications in the legal field, for both manufacturers and the government, the self-driving car can become a moral minefield. The interests of victims would try to force the cars to be programmed in a selfless way, on the other hand the consumer may demand that the car offers the maximum protection to the occupant, or that he himself may decide how high the level of self-sacrifice in the car is. According to researcher the self-driving car will drastically bring down the number of traffic casualties. But due to the judicial wrangling the introduction of this type of car gets delayed, as a result many people will needlessly die in traffic. This posses us to with a new moral dilemma: can the government force people to step into a self-driving car? Experts on the issue, seem to hold the view that it is inevitable for the government to enforce rules, provided that the rules are democratically legitimized.


The complexity of traffic But whether the future traffic situation actually gives rise to moral dilemmas is the question. In the aforementioned ethical situations with self-driving cars you must choose between hitting one or the other group of people- there are always two options. Real traffic situations are often a lot more complex. The simplified traffic situation, makes it seem like the moral choice is the only choice that matters. Such an oversimplified picture makes it difficult to come to good solutions. Ethical, abstract dilemmas often work crippling. If you look at the complexity of the system, the situation becomes often more manageable. The discussed situations are fascinating subjects for philosophical discussions, but probably not the most urgent problems. The current implemented control system in self-driving cars work on the basis of four steps: Measure, recognize, predict and plan. So no ethical considerations are made, and this is no necessary requirement. The real challenge is not to try to solve the ethical dilemma, but for engineers to make the four steps as reliable as possible in all circumstances. We could argue that when the car plans the safest route, it automatically drives in an ethical way. This does not mean that the legislature can sit back and relax, there are still a lot of legal questions to be answered, especially on responsibility and liability. How the responsibly is to be divided under drivers, businesses and institutions is still to be answered.

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By Zuzanna Grejner

About technology law, human rights and more...

Your field of specialization is Information Technology Law and Law and the Internet. Could you tell our readers a little bit about your current area of interest and research? My interest in general is the challenges that using information technology puts to the law. In the courses that I teach I try to challenge students to think about these questions and form their own well-founded opinion on them. Now we have the General Data Protection Regulation that is a very hot topic and there is a lot of debate about the right to be forgotten, about big data and the impact on data protection law. Also, vice versa, whether data protection law can protect us from the threats that big data technology has for us. For example, profiling: it is not evident that you know that you are in a certain profile and it is not evident that it is clear to you that you are treated in a different way because of the profile you are in. So, again, the GDPR has permission, as one of the key instruments, to give users some control over what happens to their personal information. Still, you cannot know what you have agreed to – typically everybody clicks “I Agree” all of the time. It is one thing to say that asking for consent is a useless instrument but another thing is to come up with something we should introduce instead. These are the questions I like to think about and to discuss with students. You’ve written an article on equality and human rights on the internet. How would you characterize the impacts the development of technology has and will have on how we perceive human rights? Privacy is one of the main topics of information technology law and, of course, privacy is a human right. I think by the technological developments we need to rethink the whole notion of “privacy” – what it means,

how we should protect it. There is this famous saying: “On the internet, there is no privacy, get over it”. In a sense, that is true. On the other hand, if you say that privacy is related to human dignity, that it means that you can decide for yourself who you are, who you want to be, what life you want to live, then how can you say that we no longer have that right? I think it is inconsistent to define privacy as human dignity and to agree to give away this right. This is maybe the most important human right related to the field of information technology law. Another human right that is very much affected by technological developments is freedom of expression and freedom of information. The rights are important both on the active side, meaning that you can express yourself however you choose – on the internet there is an unprecedented way of reaching a large audience and there are many questions on how this right should play out. The other side of the coin is freedom of information, the right to receive information. Of course, there is a notion of censorship, like for instance in China. But then there is also a very interesting question of the “filter bubble” – a term coined by Eli Pariser – which means, for example, that if you search something on Google, which all of us do multiple times a day, then Google tailors the search results to what they know you have clicked on in the past, on the basis, again, of your profile. Then, what you see is happening is that an American commercial organization determines which information we receive and from the perspective of freedom of expression as the right to receive information this is very problematic. Even though this is an interesting development, I am not sure democracy and human rights are served best by providing people with information that is just tailored to them. It is okay if you are aware of this; but if you are not, then you

just get information that reinforces the views that you already have, whereas diversity and things that you stumble upon by accident tend to be much more of an enrichment. I think there is also a problem there. Thus, privacy and freedom of expression, those are I think the human rights most affected by information technology. Some people compare access to the internet to the social and economic rights of second generation. After all, lack of access creates digital divide of an incomparable size. However, other experts, like the “father of the internet” Vint Cerf himself, claim the internet is but a tool of exercise of rights and should not be compared to such essential values as, for instance, freedom of expression. Do you think access to the internet should be considered a human right? I think access to information and being able to participate in public discussion and in public debate, to take part in democracy – but this is only relevant if you have democracy in the first place – are human rights in themselves. As a citizen you obviously should have the right to receive information but also to discuss it with other people. I agree with Cerf that internet is not an aim in itself but a tool, that it is the one tool that gives you a worldwide audience, that empowers you, like we saw for instance in the Arabic Spring. I am not sure the question whether internet access should be considered a human right is in itself so interesting because, indeed, internet is a tool, but it is the only tool available. You can say you have a right of participation, to information, and to share your ideas: there is one effective way to realize these rights, and this is to give people access to the internet. It does not really matter how you categorize it. Maybe you shouldnot say


access to internet is a right because then you emphasize the means and not the end. The aim is to give people the right to participate. Another important topic in the field of technology and law is the development of AI and robotics. According to the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, states should consider taking measures such as introducing general minimal income in case robots take people’s jobs or considering a separate category of individual for robots, namely an “electronic personhood”. What is your opinion on these controversial aspects of Mady Delvaux’s report? One of my students wrote his PhD on agency – if you have an agent, for example on the internet, a software agent who does bargaining for you, then it always comes down to the fact that the person using the tool is responsible for whatever the tool does. I find it hard to imagine robots having this kind of electronic personhood, but sure, there are interesting questions there. I know of some students fascinated by self-driving cars and how to assign liability in cases of accidents etc. I think these are practical details that have to be somehow solved by the law if we want to use these kinds of cars. They are efficient and cheap and a lot safer than human drivers. My view is a very instrumental one – if it is good for society that we use these things, then the law should come up with some solution to the legal problems that the use of these things create, for example a kind of common insurance. If an accident occurs and there is no human agent that is clearly responsible, then you have some spread of the risk and the damages are covered by a fee which everyone had paid. We should work out something that is smart, fair and efficient. I think the fact of robots taking peoples’ jobs is a challenge to the law.

URIOS MAGAZINE It used to be the case that people found a meaningful way to live by having a job that gives them an income, a status, stability and satisfaction. If we really lose a lot of that to robots, then all of us can go on holiday and enjoy the sun. That is fine, but then society will have to come up with a way to distribute the income – in order to sit in the sun, you still need money. It is a challenge to law to come up with a solution that enables people to live a meaningful life even if the choices they make and how they want to do this is their own responsibility. If people at low-level jobs, like manufacturing, become unemployed because machines do all the work, then the society has a problem. You have to offer people a way to live a meaningful life, which is again an aspect of human dignity. I am not saying society has an obligation to provide you with a meaningful life, because that is your own task, but you have to have some options, there must be something for you to choose from. Society, and law as its tool, should try to organize things in such a way there is a place for everybody and that everybody has an opportunity to make something of their own lives – however idealistic this view might be. To finish with an even more open-ended question, what do you think is the most significant impact the digital era has had and will have on how we create and practice law? How does technology influence both lawyers and law makers? The interesting thing about technological development is that it sometimes encourages or even makes it necessary for us to rethink and reinvent not only the rules themselves but also the reasons why we have the rules in the first place and the values that the rules are to embody. For example, if you say that the right to privacy is helpful in protecting human dignity, and if you then see that by technological developments the whole notion of privacy becomes even more vague than it was before, that gives you an opportunity to rethink the notion of human dignity itself – which I think is the most interesting thing there is. That is on a very abstract, theoretical level, but you can also make it more practical. A very telling example is child pornography. At some point in history we decided having sex with children and encouraging it, etc. is not acceptable and we criminalized it

INTERVIEW making child pornography. Then we had the development of software, like Photoshop, that enables us to make child pornographic pictures that fall under the criminal law but in making of which in fact no actual child is abused, because you can cut and paste parts from innocent pictures and make child pornography from that. Is that criminal as well if no child is involved? That is when you have to rethink why we have the criminalization of child pornographic pictures. We can say that this is so horrible and that we do not want to give people an idea that this is a normal way to look at children, that we agree even child pornography made using Photoshop should be criminalized. But still, there is also child abuse for example in virtual world, in Second Life. It is a sort of computer game, in which you log into an online world and create an avatar which represents you: there, you can be anybody that you would like and all the constraints of the physical world do not apply. Should the abuse of child avatars by adult avatars in the virtual world be a crime as well? It depends on what is the goal of the criminalization of sexual child abuse. On the one hand you can say, if pedophilia is a condition one is born with, then there is not much one can do about it. It is only that children have to be protected from sexual abuse. So maybe a Second Life gives some kind of solution. On the other hand, if child abuse in virtual worlds brings people with the same inclinations in contact and lowers their threshold of shame, it can be considered a kind of “education” on how to abuse children. And thus it should be covered by the criminalization as well. That is an illustration of the kind of questions the use of new information technologies raises and by that really invites us to rethink why some acts are criminal and what is it that we want to protect. It challenges our assumptions and the things that we take for granted. That is what makes it so interesting. No easy answers, just more questions… More questions, of course. But that is what makes it a fascinating research subject. I also think the lawyers should at least be aware of the fact that these changes are happening and that we need to have an open mind to technological developments. It is crucial for lawyers to think about these questions and form an opinion on them.


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SHORT EXCHANGE After the great success of last year, this year we went again on a Short Exchange! From the 4th of February until the 11th of February we visited Lisbon, as well as last year. The first day we flew from Eindhoven to Lisbon airport. After arriving in our hostel, we had some time to enjoy the city on our own. In the evening we enjoyed a meal with our whole group together. The second day we had nothing planned, so everyone was able to do whatever they wanted to. There were many different activities done. Some of our group for example visited the Museu Nacional do Azulejo; the national museum of tiles. On Monday we started the day with a welcome session at Catรณlica Global School of Law. After ar-

riving Portuguese style due to the fact that we got lost, we had a presentation about the university and a small tour. In the afternoon, a part of our group went to a surfing class at Costa da Caparica. Some were eventually even able to remain standing on the surfboard! The next day we went to the house of the Dutch ambassador. He told us about his work and the embassy in general. After his talk, we were able to ask questions. Some of us really got inspired and might even consider becoming an ambassador one day. We will see how that works out! At Wednesday we started our morning at SRS Advogados, a national and international law firm. They told us a lot about their firm and after that they gave a short presentation about competition




04 - 11 February By Julia Leeflang

law, one of their specializations. After that, we had a Tuk-Tuk tour. In four Tuk-Tuks, we were driven through the city and went to the must-see’s of Lisbon. Thursday morning and -afternoon we had nothing on our schedule. Some of us rented scooters and crossed around Lisbon and area. In the late afternoon we went to Católica Global School of Law again. Here we had an intercultural workshop together with some Erasmus students. They told us about the typical Portuguese habits. For example, they usually eat at around 10:30 pm and the saying ‘’mañana, mañana’’ really applies to them; they do show up late. In the evening, we had dinner with our group. Friday was our last whole day in Lisbon. We had nothing on our schedule. In the morning, the Short Exchange committee met with a student from

ELSA Lisbon, to talk about the coming of the Portuguese students to Utrecht. They were very excited. After that, some of us for example went to Sintra, a beautiful city near to Lisbon. Saturday morning we had to leave early to catch our flight back to Eindhoven airport. After a bit of delay due to the snow in Eindhoven, we got into the plane and eventually we arrived in our cold and snowy country. Unfortunately, our Short Exchange has come to an end! We are looking back at a successful Short Exchange. We had a very cosy group and we really enjoyed Lisbon. Now we are looking forward to the Portuguese students coming to Utrecht..!





TEHRAN By Asami Bakker Last summer I went on holidays to Iran. For most this is not the most obvious vacation destination, especially since it was summer in Iran and it was Ramadan. With temperatures rising to 40 and occasionally 45 Celsius degrees, not being able to drink water in public areas is quite an inconvenience. But the advantage of this was that the tickets to Iran were extremely cheap. The reactions of friends and family were quite mixed. Some thought it was a great idea but most simply thought that I had lost my mind and were concerned about my safety (“That’s the place where all those terrorists live, right?”). I must admit that at first I was a bit concerned. I knew I had to walk around with all my money for the trip in cash as international credit and debit cards do not work in Iran. I was worried that as a tourist I would be an easy target for thieves, or that I might be targeted by the religious authorities for failing to observe some unknown Islamic doctrine. However, these concerns were unfounded. Iran is one of the safest countries I have travelled in so far. The only time I felt slightly threatened was when I had to cross the busy streets of Tehran. The traffic in Iran is absolutely insane. I quickly noticed though that they drive more carefully when there are tourists around. Before I went to Iran I was full of prejudices about the country. I thought most women would walk around in chadors; especially in Tehran this is untrue. I thought that dealing with authorities would be difficult as I thought that they would have the mindset you might expect of a theocratic government. This too was untrue, to foreigners they are extremely kind and courteous. Maybe

not always helpful but this was mainly because their English was poor. I also expected the country to be less developed due to the international sanctions, but in Iran they have a relatively high standard of living in the cities. Iranians do not seem to be put down by the sanctions. Iranians are very friendly and welcoming towards western tourists. They would often come up to us and talk with pride about their country and culture. Often they would invite us to their homes to have lunch together, which is nice as in Iran the only diners that are affordable are kebab restaurants. Being invited to their homes often meant that you would finally eat something else than kebab and rice. Iran is a country of contradictions. On the one hand the country can be quite strict, for example with their policy on alcohol or clothing for women. But on the other hand, you would find a Christian church, proving they are more tolerant than I would expect. In Tehran, there is a restaurant that serves alcohol if you are not Muslim. At the same time, alcohol smugglers, who smuggle alcohol mostly from Iraqi Kurdistan, can face the death penalty if caught. Although the government presents itself as the guardian of a virtuous and conservative country, Iranians exhibit more liberal behavior, seeking the limits of what is legally and socially acceptable. Iran for example has a considerable percentage of opium and crystal meth (known as sheesheh) users and is the third biggest consumer of alcohol in the Middle-East. By law women must cover all their hair, but most Iranian women do not fully cover their hair. The closer you get to Tehran, the more hair you will see peeking out from under their fashionable scarves, or the more noticeable the bodily curves become. For me, this vacation showed me everything Iran really is and could be, instead of the horrible things the government says or does every other while. Iran is beautiful. Iran is wonderful. It’s a strange country, wrestling with piousness and freedom. It is a country definitely worth visiting and visiting it will give you a different perspective on this remarkable country.





Shan Patel

27 years old, lives in Utrecht What do you study? I studied Law and Economics, with some European law and public international law on the side. From September onward, I will be studying human rights in the UK. How long have you been a member? I took up membership 2.5 years ago, when I first arrived in Utrecht. How are you involved with Urios? My involvement with Urios started through the Utrecht Journal of International and European Law. Since I was elected Editor-in-Chief, almost 2 years ago now, I got increasingly involved in Urios’ activities and can now be found at most of the socials. I also recently took a seat on Urios’ Advisory Board. What is the best thing about Urios? What I consider the best part is the welcoming atmosphere, also for those of us that prefer, or simply hold, English as a first language. Being of Dutch-Indian-Ugandan descent, I have a special appreciation for the international orientation Urios has. Next to that, the conscious effort that is made to provide events that cater to the immense variety of interests that our members have is commendable. Can you tell us something about UJIEL? Yes! Utrecht Journal is not only our university’s very own student-led law journal, it is the oldest of its kind in the Netherlands, dating back to 1981. Every year, we publish two

issues that include contributions from authors all over the world. Though it falls under Urios, it operates autonomously and has its own Board of Editors. Despite that all Editors are students, the journal is considered to compete, and quite successfully I might add, with the large international, professor-run journals out there. We even receive articles by Nobel Laureates! What was your best Urios experience? There are too many experiences that were equally great to pick just one. I most enjoy our monthly members drink. It provides the perfect opportunity to catch up friends. Not to mention, it has happened on more than one occasion that the drink serves as the precursor to a night out with the Urios board. Let’s just say, Urios knows how to have fun! What do you do besides spending time with Urios? Next to my involvement with Urios and Utrecht Journal, I enjoy running, diving, and bouldering (despite that heights terrify me!). I’m an immense coffee-snob. And, as the Urios board will certainly be able to attest, I am perhaps too easily talked into a night out.




BREXIT lecture


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Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn law firm visit


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14 Monday


Lecture: Elections, Democracy & Populism On March 14, the day before the Dutch elections, Urios hosts a “kroegcollege” on democracy, elections and populism! The event will consist of informal, “gezellige” drinks at Café Hemingway, and interactive lectures by two experts in the related fields. The first speaker is Bob van den Bos. Dr. van den Bos served as a Parliamentary representative on behalf of the Dutch political party D66 in the Dutch House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer), Senate (Eerste Kamer) and in the European Parliament. He will elaborate on populism in light of European and global developments. While doing so, he will particularly zoom in on the Dutch elections on March 15, the French elections in April and the recent election of Donald Trump in the US.



Paulien de Morree will be our second speaker. Dr. de Morree is attached to the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights and works as a Professor at UU. She wrote her dissertation on Article 17 ECHR, which prohibits the abuse of rights. Her lecture will discuss a flexible democracy and what Article 17 ECHR can contribute to such an aim.

14 MAR

When? Tuesday March 14, 20:00 - 00:00. The lectures will approximately take place between 21:00 and 22:30. Where? Café Hemingway, Janskerkhof 6, 3512 BK Utrecht. Costs? Free! Sign up via this link: publicly/subscribeEvent/41

Dutch Elections: Debate Night The Dutch elections are coming up and they might just be the most important in Dutch history. Will the PVV take the lead, will the VVD stay in parliament, or will new kid on the block Klaver surprise everyone and spark a revolution? Come see on the 15th of March! Urios, in collaboration with the UCU Debating Union and Utrecht Debating Society, will host a fun election night. We will stream the exit polls, have cheap beer available and do some public speaking and debating games while we wait for the results. Everyone is welcome! For international students, a small info lecture will be given on how Dutch politics works and what the current state of affairs is. This will just take 5-10 minutes, but will make sure you are completely familiar with the politics in this beautiful country. In other words: an excellent opportunity to learn some valuable stuff about your host country. We will serve several snacks, such as ‘bitterballen’. Also, first drink is for free and in case you want more than one drink: beer costs only 1 euro! We repeat: CHEAP ALCOHOL LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! Cheers and see you on the 15th of March in the UCU Bar!

15 Tuesday

Co bir




- 17 RCH

Career Event The annual Career Event will take place on March 16th.The Career Event is meant to give an insight into the different possibilities out there for students interested in international and European law. This is reflected in the variety of people and organisations that will give lectures and workshops: among others, renowned law firms such as Houthoff Buruma, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Yugoslavia Tribunal and NGO’s Greenpeace and PAX will be present. Moreover, the day will be opened with a lecture from Dutch Human Rights Ambassador Kees van Baar. Do you have a specific interest in working for a law firm? Then register (separately from the Career Event) for our recruitment lunch! This lunch takes place during the lunchbreak of the Career Event. Recruiters of law firms De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Brisdet offer you the chance to learn more about these firms and their job possibilities in an informal setting. For more information and the complete lists of speakers please visit the Career event website: And register through this link: publicly/subscribeEvent/36 Date: 16th of March Time: 08.30 - 17.30 Location: Campusplein 1, 3584 ED Utrecht Costs: Free!! (Lunch, coffee and tea are provided for you!)

17 Thursday

Pub Crawl To finish this year’s DIES Week, Urios will take you to three great pubs in town, where we will stay about 45 minutes per pub. We will begin in Café Otje at 21:00 and the first drink will be on us!

ome celebrate the rthday of Urios!


16 Wednesday




CALENDAR Previous Events

19 January 2017 / Members drink 4-7 February 2017 / Short Exchange to Lisbon

Upcoming Events DIES WEEK 14 March 2017 / Lecture 15 March 2017 / Debate Night 16 March 2017 / Career Event 17 March 2017 / Pub Crawl 22 March 2017 / Workshop IHL


Curious - Urios Magazine Vol. 2 Issue 9 March 2017 Editors Alina Chakh, Roos Bos, Klea Vyshka, Zuzanna Grejner, Sofia van Dijk Address Janskerkhof 3 3512BK Utrecht The Netherlands Copyright The copyrights of the articles, photographs and pictures are reserved to the authors and artists. Nothing in this issue may in any way be duplicated or made public without permission from the authors. Membership Would you like to be member of Urios? Register now at Sponsors

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