Dies Natalis Conference

Ethics and Social Responsibility of Artificial Intelligence

28 November, 15:00 | Remonstrantse Kerk, Groningen | €5,-

In this conference, we will look beyond the technical matters of Robotics and data science and will more look into the social implications that this upcoming phenomenon brings. In a variety of lectures, both masterclasses and keynotes, participants will gain insight into AI from different angles.

Keynote Speakers

Tim Sweijs

Director of Research, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies

Geopolitical implications of AI

Dr Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for horizon scanning, early warning, conflict analysis, national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. His main research interest concerns the changing character of contemporary conflict. He also serves as an Adviser  for Technology, Conflict and National Interest to the UK Government’s Stabilisation Unit.. Previously, he was a researcher at TNO Defence and Security in The Hague and at the research staff of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels.

He studied in London, Amsterdam and Hong Kong and holds degrees in War Studies (PhD, MA), International Relations (MSc), and Philosophy (BA).

Dr. Tim Sweijs’ Keynote Lecture will be about the geopolitical implications of Artificial Intelligence.

Peter Werkhoven

Chief Scientific Officer, TNO


Peter Werkhoven has been a professor first at the University of Amsterdam and later at Utrecht University (Dept. of Information and Computing Sciences, chair Multimodal Interaction in Virtual Environments). As of May 2019, he became a member of the TNO Executive Board, in the position of Chief Scientific Officer (CSO).

At TNO, he worked before as head of the Department of Information Processing, Director of the TNO Business Center Multimedia and Telecommunications, Director of the Corporate ICT Staff and Research Director of the division Defense, Security & Safety.

He also served as a member of various boards, including the NATO Research and Technology Board, the board of the V2 Institute for the Unstable Media, the supervisory board of the NWO National Initiative Brain & Cognition (NIHC), and the Advisory Council of the UT Centre for Telematics and Information Technology.

Masterclass Speakers


Traditionally, the Dutch United Nations Student Association (the SIB) organizes a conference that is related to the topic of human rights in celebration of its birthday. This conference will provide students and citizens of Groningen and surroundings with a platform to actively engage with current events, to explore different perspectives, and voice their opinions on the subject matter. Previous topics from recent years include ‘Energy Security & Sustainability’, ‘Terrorism and counter-terrorism’, and ‘Modern Slavery in Europe’.

This year the SIB will hold the Dies Natalis conference on the 28 of November 2019 and will aim to explore and explain the various perspectives on the social responsibility of artificial intelligence. The importance of this matter can be expressed in the enormous impact computer life already has on human life.

Ever since the rise of the internet, computers, and technology, a new aspect of intelligence has entered our lives. Not only could simple calculations be done, or administrative work be automated, machines were so far developed that they were able to teach themselves. New ideas came to mind, were we able, as human beings, to create a better version of ourselves in the shape of a computer? Something more intelligent? More perfect?

Artificial intelligence is a field where many sciences are combined. When one thinks about artificial intelligence, mostly technology, mathematics, and information sciences come to mind. But the field stretches far wider. Psychology, philosophy, ethics, and the arts play a crucial part in the development of machine learning, but even a bigger part in how we should deal with machine learning.

For several years, artificial intelligence was something spectacular, technology beyond what we had seen so far. The general attitude towards A.I. was positive and people saw a bright future ahead. However, there has been a change in tone over the past few years, because something this powerful could indeed do great things but could also do a lot of harm. Several shows and books have experimented with this idea, for example, the Netflix series Black Mirror. On top of that, several high ranking scholars in the field of A.I. warned the public that the technology of artificial intelligence had moved beyond the current social, judicial, and political understanding and they warned of the potential consequences it can have on our current society.

It is therefore of importance that the emphasis on A.I. moves from a purely technological approach to a more ethical approach. Society, scholars, politicians, and software developers need to increase their awareness concerning A.I. as it is a powerful tool. They also need to think about what this tool can do and which way we want to go with this technology. This conference aims to bring all those groups together to discuss the importance of understanding beyond technology in A.I., how this can impact our society, and what our responsibility is in the field.


15:00 - 19:00


By offering a variety of lectures, both masterclasses and keynotes, participants will gain insight into AI from different angles. You can join this event for €5.

14:30: Doors open
15:00: Opening
15:10: Keynote: Tim Sweijs
15:40: Masterclass Round 1
16:15: Break
16:30: Keynote: Peter van Werkhoven
17:05: Masterclass Round 2
17:45: Panel Discussion
18:25: Ending Ceremony
18:35: Drinks



We will have dinner with the speakers at De Branderij. For only €15,- you will be served a starter and a main course, together with one drink.


Party (Members Only)

We will move to Club Kiwi where we have a very special party themed ‘Science Fiction’. A variety of Drinking games will be played alongside some free drinks and pumping music.

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