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The International Society of Public Law 10th Annual Conference Madrid, Spain

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The plenary program at the 2024 ICON•S Annual Conference will focus on “The Future of Public Law: Resilience, Sustainability, and Artificial Intelligence.” The conference seeks to foster reflection and discussion on the different transformations that public law is going through as a result of the major societal challenges of our time: the quest for sustainability, the AI revolution and, more generally, the need for resilience in a world of exponential change. Public law is central to the global effort to fight climate change and to ensure that human activities are conducted in a manner that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Thus, thinking about the future of public law requires asking questions about its role in achieving a balanced approach to economic growth, environmental preservation, and social equity. The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence also raises profound legal, ethical and societal questions. Many of these questions are connected to the role that public law is called to play in a AI-driven world and, in particular, in addressing issues such as the implications of AI for fundamental rights, algorithmic accountability and transparency in decision-making, the role of AI in law enforcement and the judiciary, and the need for global cooperation in this field. Finally, in a world of constant and exponential change, it is apposite to reflect on the resilience of public law. This calls for a more general discussion on the capacity of constitutions, state structures and regulatory regimes to anticipate, mitigate and adapt to unforeseen crises and challenges, including political crises, socio-economic disruptions, health emergencies, and environmental calamities. 

On their own, each of these issues raises a broad range of questions regarding the future of constitutional law, administrative law and international law. Besides addressing these questions, the goal of the conference is to explore their multifaceted connections. For example, we are interested in the potential of AI and the digital economy in mitigating environmental hazards, its risks for electoral campaigns, the use of massive datasets to achieve and evaluate more data-driven solutions, and promoting renewable energy optimization. The challenge of sustainability, in the context of the global warming threat, is pushing us to identify how we can solve collective action problems that we see in the international sphere and how there may be a connection between democracy and accountability with the policies that different regimes adopt. Public law scholars, practitioners and judges are not (and should not) stay out of these debates. Besides the common judicialization risks and regional perspectives coming from Europe and Latin America, the possibility of approaching these issues from a human rights perspective and the economics and feasibility of achieving acceptable outcomes presents a windy and bumpy road we are yet to understand fully. Without exploring the legal and political frameworks, the AI-driven solutions to these problems and the new associated risks, the impact that these features might have on issues such as data privacy, transparency, international relations, and fourth branch institutions—to name a few—we tend to believe that the contemporary legal and political communities are unprepared for advancing the road in a successful and widely acceptable way. 

The conference theme also invites deliberating on a variety of other topics and approaches that are of ongoing and widespread interest in public law, including but not limited to questions of legal pluralism, global warming, the frameworks of renewable energies, freedom of speech, electoral regulations, privacy, the right to health, democratic theory, the rule of law, and alternative approaches to rights protection, among others.

Source: https://www.icon-society.org/call-for-papers/


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