HomeNews & EventsEuroTech Annual Event: Bytes and ballots – How technology shapes democracy in 2024

EuroTech Annual Event: Bytes and ballots – How technology shapes democracy in 2024

Do deepfakes fascinate or appal you (or both)? Are you worried that you are being manipulated by fake news? Who is protecting society against this? In this pivotal year for democracy with elections all around the globe, join us to discover what is technologically possible in 2024 and beyond, and to discuss how to collectively build and defend a resilient society.

Rapid technological advancements present new gateways for interfering with public opinion formation. However, they can also play a crucial role in safeguarding democratic processes and building trust. Let’s shed a light on this!

What to expect:

  • Look behind the scenes of cutting-edge technologies in fields such as AI and cybersecurity
  • Discuss with our expert speakers how companies, universities, policymakers, governments, journalists, and citizens can be part of the solution
  • Network with a variety of international stakeholders
  • Learn how you personally can improve your skills to distinguish fakes from facts

Be part of a dynamic exchange at the crossroads of science and policy, engineering and psychology, technology and democracy!

Programme

Please note that the programme might be subject to change.

12:00 Networking lunch

13:00 Welcome
Katrina Sichel, Moderator

13:05 Deepfakes: Facts and fiction
Professor Sabine Süsstrunk, Director of Image and Visual Representation Lab, EPFL

13:25 Behind the bytes: Where does technology stand in 2024?

  • Aiganysh Aidarbekova, Senior Investigator & Trainer, Bellingcat
  • Professor Reshef Meir, Faculty of Data and Decision Sciences, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
  • Dr Heike Riel, Head of Science & Technology and Lead of IBM Research Quantum Europe, IBM Research
  • Krisztina Stump, Head of Unit Media Convergence and Social Media, DG CNECT, European Commission

14:30 Coffee break

14:55 Vision speech
Speaker to be announced

15:15 Cracking the code: How can we protect and empower our society?

  • Professor Thierry Coulhon, President, Institut Polytechnique de Paris
  • Marisa Jiménez Martín, Director of Public Policy and Deputy Head of EU Affairs, Meta
  • Dr Roy Chun Lee, Representative, Taipei Representative Office in the European Union and Belgium
  • Professor Maria Leptin, President, European Research Council, European Commission
  • Robert-Jan Smits, President, Eindhoven University of Technology

16:30 End

Our expert speakers

Click on the photos to know more about the speakers’ backgrounds.

Aiganysh Aidarbekova

Senior Investigator & Trainer, Bellingcat

Aiganysh is a senior investigator at Bellingcat from Kyrgyzstan. Her latest investigations include conflict research in Central Asia, and research in neo-nazi channels in Russia. Aiganysh is currently the lead of Bellingcat’s Techteam which specializes in data driven investigations and tool development.

Aiganysh Aidarbekova
Senior Investigator & Trainer, Bellingcat

Thierry Coulhon

President of Institut Polytechnique de Paris

Thierry Coulhon was born in 1958. He was admitted to École Polytechnique (1977), from which he resigned in 1978, has is agrégé in mathematics (1981), holds a DEA in the history and philosophy of science (University of Paris I, 1985) and a habilitation to direct research in mathematics (University of Paris VI, 1991). He was assistant (1984), then maître de conférences (1989) in mathematics at the University of Paris VI and has been Professor at University of Cergy-Pontoise since 1992.

He was President of University of Cergy-Pontoise from September 2004 to June 2008, First Vice-President of the Conférence des Présidents d'Université (CPU) from 2006 to 2008. In July 2008, he joined the cabinet of Valérie Pécresse, former Minister of Higher Education and Research, where he was appointed Special Advisor, and then Deputy Chief of Staff. He was Director of the "Centers of Excellence" program at the Commissariat Général à l'Investissement from February 2010 to August 2012.

From August 2012 to January 2015, he was Director of the Mathematical Sciences Institute of the Australian National University in Canberra.

He was President of Paris Sciences et Lettres from February 2015 to May 2017, after which he was appointed Education, Higher Education, Research, and Innovation Advisor in the office of French President Emmanuel Macron from June 2017 to October 2020.

Since November 1st, 2020, he has been President of the Haut Conseil de l'évaluation de la recherche et de l'enseignement supérieur (Hcéres).

Since September 27th, 2023, Professor Thierry Coulhon was officially appointed Acting Chairman of the Board of Institut Polytechnique de Paris.

He is the author of over 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals and is listed in the Scopus database among the world's 2% most cited researchers by discipline.

Thierry Coulhon
President, Institut Polytechnique de Paris

Marisa Jiménez Martín

Director of Public Policy and Deputy Head of EU Affairs, Meta

Further information to follow

Marisa Jiménez Martín
Director of Public Policy and Deputy Head of EU Affairs, Meta

Roy Chun Lee

Representative, Taipei Representative Office in the European Union and Belgium

Education:

  • Ph.D. in Public Policy, Australian National University, Australia
  • LL.M., National Chung Cheng University, R.O.C. (Taiwan)
  • LL.B., Fu Jen Catholic University, R.O.C. (Taiwan)

 
Experience:

  • Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (2023-2024)
  • Senior Deputy Executive Director, Taiwan WTO & RTA Center, Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (2021-2023)
  • Commissioner, International Trade Commission, Ministry of Economic Affairs, R.O.C. (Taiwan) (2021-2023)
  • Independent Director, Fubon financial holding (2020-2021)
  • Advisory Committee Member, Mainland Affairs Council, R.O.C.(Taiwan) (2017-2018)
  • Deputy Executive Director, Taiwan WTO & RTA Center, Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (2012-2021)
  • Assistant Research Fellow, Associate Research Fellow, Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (2006-2023)

Roy Chun Lee
Representative, Taipei Representative Office in the European Union and Belgium

Maria Leptin

President, European Research Council, European Commission

Maria Leptin is a developmental biologist and geneticist who is the President of the European Research Council (ERC).

After her studies in mathematics and biology, Maria Leptin carried out her PhD research at the Basel Institute for Immunology. She then moved to the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, became a group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, and professor at the Institute of Genetics, University of Cologne.

Before her appointment as ERC President, Leptin was the Director of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in Heidelberg and a research group leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

She is an elected member of EMBO, the Academia Europaea and the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina). She is an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a Foreign Member of the Royal Society and an international member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Photo credits: Michael Wodak, Medizin Foto Köln

Maria Leptin
President, European Research Council, European Commission

Reshef Meir

Professor at Faculty of Data and Decision Sciences, Technion - Israel Institut of Technology

Reshef Meir is an Associate Professor at the Technion Faculty of Data and Decision Sciences which he joined during 2015. He received his PhD in computer science at the Hebrew University in 2013. Prior to joining the faculty he was a Post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Research on Computation and Society, Harvard University.

Reshef's main research lies in the intersection of computation and economics, sometimes dubbed computational game theory. In particular, he studies strategic behavior and design mechanisms that promote cooperation, stability, and social welfare among rational or bounded-rational agents.

Reshef's research often intersects with other fields, such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Social Networks, and Cognitive Psychology, and he is particularly interested in the interconnections between them.

Reshef Meir
Professor at Faculty of Data and Decision Sciences, Technion – Israel Institut of Technology

Heike Riel

Head of Science & Technology and Lead of IBM Research Quantum Europe, IBM Research

Further information to follow

Heike Riel
Head of Science & Technology and Lead of IBM Research Quantum Europe, IBM Research

Robert-Jan Smits

President of Eindhoven University of Technology

Robert-Jan Smits is the President of the Eindhoven University of Technology (since May 2019). Prior to this, he was the Director-General of Research and Innovation at the European Commission (2010-2018). In this capacity he was the architect of Horizon 2020, the 80 billion EU Research and Innovation program. Smits has also been instrumental in shaping the successor program Horizon Europe (budget: 95 billion).

In his last year in Brussels, Robert-Jan Smits was the Open Access Envoy of the European Commission and developed concrete policy proposals aimed to ensure that all academic publications resulting from publicly funded research are widely available and accessible through Open Access.

Smits has received several recognitions and awards for his contribution to European science and innovation. He received the Academy Medal of the Royal Dutch Academy, the Excellence in Global Science Award in South Africa, the Medal of Honour of the KU Leuven. He holds an honorary degree from Edinburgh University, is an honorary member of Academia Europaea and is a Fellow of the International Science Council.

Photo credits: Angeline Swinkels | Fotograaf

Robert-Jan Smits
President, Eindhoven University of Technology

Krisztina Stump

Head of Unit Media Convergence and Social Media, DG CNECT, European Commission

Krisztina Stump is Head of the Unit in charge of combatting disinformation at the European Commission. The unit drafted the Commission Guidance on how to strengthen the Code of Practice on Disinformation and accompanied the drafting of the new Code presented in June 2022. It is also in charge of media literacy and overseeing research and innovation projects contributing to the fight against disinformation.

Krisztina has held various positions within the European Commission in telecommunications, audiovisual media regulation, media pluralism, copyright and social media policy. Krisztina holds Master of Laws degrees with a focus on Media Law from Columbia Law School (New York) and from Humboldt University (Berlin). She also holds a Master's in Communication and Media Studies from the ELTE University (Budapest).

Krisztina Stump
Head of Unit Media Convergence and Social Media, DG CNECT, European Commission

Sabine Süsstrunk

Director of Image and Visual Representation Lab, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

Sabine Süsstrunk is Full Professor and Director of the Image and Visual Representation Lab (IVRL) in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC) at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland. Her main research areas are in computational photography and imaging, color computer vision, and computational image quality and aesthetics. She is a co-founder and member of the board of Largo.ai, a start-up that provides AI solutions for film productions.

Sabine is a Fellow of Ellis, IEEE, and IS&T, and President of the Swiss Science Council (SSC).

Photo credits: Vincent Calmel

Sabine Süsstrunk
Director of Image and Visual Representation Lab, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

Practical information

Date: Wednesday, 6 March 2024
Time: 12:30-17:00 CET
Location: Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU, 4-10, Avenue de Cortenbergh, 1040 Brussels
Registration: Is required; please in this form.
Please note that the number of places is limited. We will confirm your participation closer to the event.

Audience

This conference is open to all who are interested.

Further information

If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to [email protected].