This is the website of the CoHuBiCoL research project, for which Mireille Hildebrandt received an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council, enabling to set up a team of both lawyers and computer scientists, to conduct foundational research into computational law. The site will be updated as we go along. Note that the official starting date is January 2019.  We will investigate how the prominence of counting and computation transforms many of the assumptions, operations and outcomes of the law. The research targets two types of computational law:​artificial legal intelligence or data-driven law (based on machine learning), andcryptographic or code-driven law (based on blockchain technologies).


Law As Computation in the Era of Artificial Legal Intelligence. Speaking Law to the Power of Statistics by Mireille Hildebrandt :: SSRN

Mireille Hildebrandt

Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Radboud University

Date Written: June 7, 2017


The idea of artificial legal intelligence stems from a previous wave of artificial intelligence, then called jurimetrics. It was based on an algorithmic understanding of law, celebrating logic as the sole ingredient for proper legal argumentation. However, as Holmes noted, the life of the law is experience rather than merely logic. Machine learning, which determines the current wave of artificial intelligence, is built on a data-driven machine experience. The resulting artificial legal intelligence may be far more successful in terms predicting the content of positive law. In this article, I discuss the assumptions of law and the rule of law and confront them with those of computational systems. As a twin paper to my Chorley lecture on Law as Information, this should inform the extent to which artificial legal intelligence provides for responsible innovation in legal decision making.

Data Governance in the Digital Age | Centre for International Governance Innovation

Data is being hailed as “the new oil.” The analogy seems appropriate given the growing amount of data being collected, and the advances made in its gathering, storage, manipulation and use for commercial, social and political purposes.Big data and its application in artificial intelligence, for example, promises to transform the way we live and work — and will generate considerable wealth in the process. But data’s transformative nature also raises important questions around how the benefits are shared, privacy, public security, openness and democracy, and the institutions that will govern the data revolution.The delicate interplay between these considerations means that they have to be treated jointly, and at every level of the governance process, from local communities to the international arena. This series of essays by leading scholars and practitioners, which is also published as a special report, will explore topics including the rationale for a data strategy, the role of a data strategy for Canadian industries, and policy considerations for domestic and international data governance.

Source: Data Governance in the Digital Age | Centre for International Governance Innovation

#Blockchain4EU: Blockchain for Industrial Transformations – European Commission

The project #Blockchain4EU is a forward looking exploration of existing, emerging and potential applications based on Blockchain and other DLTs for industrial / non-financial sectors. It combined Science and Technology Studies with a transdisciplinary policy lab toolbox filled with frameworks from Foresight and Horizon Scanning, Behavioural Insights, or Participatory, Critical and Speculative Design. Amid unfolding and uncertain developments of the Blockchain space, our research signals a number of crucial opportunities and challenges around a technology that could record, secure and transfer any digitised transaction or process, and thus potentially affect large parts of current industrial landscapes. This report offers key insights for its implementation and uptake by industry, businesses and SMEs, together with science for policy strategic recommendations.

Source: #Blockchain4EU: Blockchain for Industrial Transformations – European Commission

The Dutch Blockchain Research Agenda

In the last few months Balazs was participating in the creation of the Dutch Blockchain Research Agenda for NWO, the Dutch Science Agency.

The Agenda spells out the research priorities, and topics where more interdisciplinary research is needed.  To quote the Agenda: “Given the complex fabric of technological and societal questions around blockchain, future research seems to require at least the awareness of this multi-disciplinarity, or even seek collaboration across the boundaries of disciplines. Blockchain research carries many challenges on the level of research design and methodology. As is the case with systems focused research, the proper demarcation of scope of future research projects and programmes is essential. This scope also sets the disciplinary mix that needs to be involved. At the same time, it should be ensured that the required disciplinary progress can happen, especially since different disciplines require research at different time scales.

Since blockchain technology is a moving target, in terms of research methodology one must also consider more exploratory, theory generating,
high risk and open-ended approaches, including tools such as mathematical modelling and analysis, business modelling, techno-economic analysis, functional and non-functional design and testing, action research, simulations and experiments in research labs and living labs, horizon scanning, etc. As this research agenda includes both fundamental and applied research, it requires active involvement from non-academic stakeholders from public bodies, industry, market sectors and the general public.

Another methodological challenge is the futureproofing of research. In such a volatile field, it is often difficult to distinguish issues relevant only in the short term, versus long term blockchain specific problems, versus fundamental research questions that cut across multiple digital technologies and have been and will be with us for decades.

There are several streams of investment that fuel research in the blockchain technology domain. Private investment through venture capital and
ICOs (crowdsourcing) as well as public investment by governments, universities, and research funding bodies should be aligned in a smart way.
In that context it seems inevitable to identify the fields that Dutch academia, research institutes and research departments of Dutch organisations are
best positioned to answer, either because they already excel in certain domains, or because they want to build skills and research capacity through
strategic investment.

The Agenda is now public And can be downloaded from here:

Read file

What do AI and blockchain mean for the rule of law? | TechCrunch

Blockchain “freezes the future”, argues Hildebrandt, admitting of the two it’s the technology she’s more skeptical of in this context. “Once you’ve put it on a blockchain it’s very difficult to change your mind, and if these rules become self-reinforcing it would be a very costly affair both in terms of money but also in terms of effort, time, confusion and uncertainty if you would like to change that.

Source: What do AI and blockchain mean for the rule of law? | TechCrunch

Blockchain Protocol Analysis and Security Engineering 2017 | Cyber Initiative

The conference will explore the use of formal methods, empirical analysis, and risk modeling to better understand security and systemic risk in blockchain protocols.  The conference aims to foster multidisciplinary collaboration among practitioners and researchers in blockchain protocols, distributed systems, cryptography, computer security, and risk management.

Source: Blockchain Protocol Analysis and Security Engineering 2017 | Cyber Initiative

Quinn DuPont studies human and social dimensions of cybersecurity, cryptography, and code. He is cur­rently a post­doc­toral Re­search As­so­ci­ate at the School of In­for­ma­tion, Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton. He has a PhD in In­for­ma­tion Sci­ence (Toronto), and is an ALA-ac­cred­ited li­brar­ian (West­ern), with a decade of in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence as a Se­nior In­for­ma­tion Spe­cial­ist at IBM, an IT con­sul­tant, and a us­abil­ity and ex­pe­ri­ence de­signer. His cur­rent re­search fo­cuses on eth­i­cal prac­tices of com­puter se­cu­rity re­searchers, and cryp­tocur­rency and blockchain tech­nolo­gies. He is a mem­ber of the Stan­dards Coun­cil of Canada and ISO blockchain stan­dard­iza­tion com­mit­tees, and the IEEE Blockchain Ini­tia­tive