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The interactions between and the questions concerning technology and normativity are manifold as are the ways to approach them. Technology and Law welcomes articles on new and original research, visions and applications triggering discussions as well as articles that propose methodologies and present solutions ranging from positivist views on norms (primacy on legal sources) to realist views (primacy on social activity).
Under a positivist view, technology implements normativity by sustaining directives expressed in sources of norms. This clearly concerns law and the legal field, but also domains such as banking, insurance, auditing, and certification. These domains traditionally deal with autonomous, intentional agents that either conform or not to some set of norms – which in turn are created by policymakers to achieve some goals and support some set of values. Traditional study topics in this area are concerned with how or whether norms (and/or preferences, values, etc.) should be represented and processed by computational means. A prototypical encounter is expressed in electronic institutions, as for instance those governing data-sharing infrastructures (e.g. in the healthcare, financial, or logistic sectors). Rather complementary approaches exploit the better access to sources of law and relevant legal data to develop new analytical and support tools based on data science, network analysis, and natural language processing. These tools can bring changes to existing processes in practice; some tasks that were traditionally performed by (para-)legal practitioners could in principle be taken over by automated systems. The development and use of these new technologies allow for types of legal research that were unavailable in the past, but they also lead to ethical questions concerning both research and deployment aspects.
Under a realist (or even materialist) view, technology implements normativity for the same reason that it operates in the real world, as it enables/disables activities that would otherwise be disabled/enabled. Therefore, assessing the impact of a certain system implementation (explicitly policy-driven or not) is necessary not only for evaluating the effectiveness of a certain normative device in a given social context, but also for becoming even more topical in the presence of complex technologies as their revealed behavior could go beyond, if not against, their design purposes. Studies in this area are concerned with methods of capturing the social environment in which algorithms are embedded, including phenomena (e.g. trust) influencing the behavior of social participants. An external view over the specific design of the computational artefact allows focusing on assessing their impact within the social assemblage, studying the mutual interaction with e.g. formal institutions as well as with human actors.
This journal's specialty intends to publish and discuss these major impacts in both theoretical and practical work. The scope includes, but is not limited, to:
• Computational models and tools supporting legal practitioners, policymakers, and evaluators
• Computational models of normative reasoning and argumentation
• Application and evaluation of algorithms and data models in or for a legal context
• Evaluation and critical assessment of (large scale) automation in public administrations, or other (para-) legal organizations
• Detection, intervention and systematic, contextualized approaches to biases, discrimination, and effects of proposed solutions
• Operationalization of normative activities in computational domains (e.g. cyber-physical infrastructures, socio-technical systems)
• Methodologies and references (e.g. novel datasets, actual or synthetic) for evaluation and assessment
• Position papers and meta-studies in the area of technology in normative domains
• Empirical legal studies using information technology
• Technological theory of norms, normative theories of technology.
Indexed in: Google Scholar, DOAJ, CrossRef, Digital Biography & Library Project (dblp), CLOCKSS, OpenAIRE
Technology and Law welcomes submissions of the following article types: Brief Research Report, Conceptual Analysis, Correction, Data Report, Editorial, General Commentary, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Opinion, Original Research, Perspective, Policy and Practice Reviews, Review, Specialty Grand Challenge, Systematic Review and Technology and Code.
All manuscripts must be submitted directly to the section Technology and Law, where they are peer-reviewed by the Associate and Review Editors of the specialty section.
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