PROFIT Workshop: Reimagining Big Tech
The Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, together with the Copenhagen Legal Tech Lab, and the Centre for Private Governance, organise a workshop, “Reimagining Big Tech”, on the 5th and 6th of October, 2023.
Purpose of the Workshop
This 1.5-day long interdisciplinary workshop will provide a platform for examining various questions surrounding regulation, governance, technology and business models of Big Tech companies, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon or Microsoft. Big Tech companies have become some of the most powerful and influential entities in the world. They have transformed how we communicate, work, and access information, They have also been criticised for their impact on privacy, democracy, and economic inequality. There is now a growing recognition of the need to shift the focus of technological development from the needs of the companies themselves to the needs of their customers—us.
In this workshop, we will explore the ways in which technology, law, and governance intersect to shape the role that Big Tech companies play in our lives. We will discuss how we could completely redesign Big Tech so that they benefit the people and not just the large companies. As technology reshapes traditional business practices and paradigms, organisations can remain competitive by being agile, collaborative, and user-centric. While Big Tech has been exceptionally good at bringing agile and collaboration. However, these companies are also heavily focused on our data—and silently take away our knowledge and control of it. The time may be ripe for reevaluating technology operating models, internal structures, governance models, and the specific applications and shortcomings of new technologies. To this end, we will discuss how technology and regulation can help achieve change. This workshop aims to initiate discussions regarding the re-conceptualization of Big Tech companies as they are organised and regulated and how they use the technology they have at hand. How can we escape the existing regulatory and technological limitations that are currently in place? Significant work has been achieved on these issues from an angle of data protection, antitrust, consumer protection, or taxation. The hope is that this series of events can broaden the scope of inquiry over the means of control over/of Big Tech by including angles not analysed exhaustively.
This workshop is the beginning of a collaboration that will lead to another workshop and conference (in 2024 and 2025) and conclude with an edited volume published by a leading publishing house.
This 1.5-day workshop will consist of three distinct components:
- Presentation of approximately 15 papers in the form of a short pitch of a maximum of 7 minutes;
- Two keynote speakers, one from academia (day 1) and one from the industry (day 2);
- Break-out sessions consist of smaller groups, each focusing on a distinct sub-topic or issue, with time for each small group to “report back” to the larger group in a final workshop panel.
Participation is invited through the submission of original works on relevant topics, including but not limited to:
Governance & Regulation
- Corporate governance for tech companies;
- Accountability of Big Tech companies and their management;
- Data monetisation and governance v. user control;
- User-centred business models v. scalability;
Future of Technology
- Examination of the role of transparency, explainability or interpretability technologies used by Big Tech companies;
- Designing ethics or compliance with the law into computational systems of Big Tech..
|5-6 October 2023||
Copenhagen Workshop - Focus on concepts and arguments
Submission of the initial chapter drafts
|May 2024||Workshop (TBD) - Presentation and discussion of drafts|
|October 2024||Submission of the final drafts|
|Late Spring 2025||Final Conference and book promotion in Copenhagen|
We ask the interested contributors to (a) provide a brief description of the specific topic (up to 200 words) they wish to analyse and (b) attach their current CV.
Organisers are committed to diversity in all of its forms and aim to include a diverse group of authors in these workshops and an edited volume.
Applications are due by May 30, 2023. The editors expect to notify accepted authors no later than June 15, 2023.
Questions may be directed to the organisers via the email addresses included below. At least one author of an accepted paper is expected to attend the workshop in person.
About the PROFIT Project
The PROFIT project is led by Associate Professor Alexandra Andhov, who is also the founder and director of the Copenhagen Legal Tech Lab. PROFIT project is funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark. The PROFIT project aims to reimagine and advance a new suite of corporate governance mechanisms that will improve the accountability of Big Tech companies through more effective contemporary corporate governance. This workshop and the foreseen edited volume form part of the PROFIT Project.