Lorena Jaume-Palasí: seeing technology in a social context

Lorena Jaume-Palasí researches the ethics of digitalization and automation.

The emergence of new digital technologies requires new legal and sociopolitical rules, says Lorena Jaume-Palasí. The founder of the nonprofit initiative The Ethical Tech Society researches the ethics of digitization and automation and addresses questions of legal philosophy in this context.

She has been appointed as a member of expert councils of the Spanish government in the field of digitalization in two legislatures: in 2017 as a member of the Council of Wise Men for Artificial Intelligence and Data Policy and in 2020 as a member of the National Council for Artificial Intelligence. In 2020, she was also appointed as a member of the International Advisory Council (2020-2024) by the European Parliament’s Section for Science and Technology (STOA).

Jaume-Palasí was born in Mallorca and lives in Berlin. She studied Romance Studies and New and Modern History at Freie Universität and Romance Studies and Political Science at Humboldt University in Berlin. Her interest in digitization began when she realized that ethical or legal criteria were not readily applicable to the digital world.

She says the meaning of spatial realities and privacy change as we interact in digital space. “The concept of privacy is something that is constantly evolving. In times of digitalization, creating a new space – the digital space – you first have to understand what kind of space it is,” says Jaume-Palasí in an interview with Europe.Table.

Friction between law and technology

The scientist points out that democracy, law, and technology share a common individualistic perspective: The individual should be protected and provided with the greatest opportunities for development. However, the friction between law and technology arises from this commonality, says Jaume-Palasí: “AI does not know the individual, but it helps to gain insights into general behavioral patterns of a population.” Everything that concerns the collective dimension of society is underdeveloped in the legal sense.

“We need more instruments for the area of public interest, for the social dimension of society,” says the researcher. This is necessary not only in the area of digitization but also in the areas of sustainability – the environment is a classic example – security, stability, and social cohesion.

It is important to understand what digital technology can and cannot do. “Every new technology introduced in the past has raised a number of moral and legal issues,” Jaume-Palasí says. The invention of printing and the translation of the Bible were technologies that the church and the monarchy sought to control “in a repressive sense” because they were technologies “that could challenge established power”.

AI is the child of enlightenment. It is important for regulators to understand the implications of the technology and not regulate it regardless of the social context. Isabel Cuesta Camacho

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