Eduard Fosch-Villaronga

Author & Researcher eLaw Center for Law and Digital Technologies

Eduard Fosch-Villaronga is a legal scholar interested in robots and AI. Eduard is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral researcher at the eLaw Center for Law and Digital Technologies at Leiden University where he investigates the legal and regulatory implications of the use of robots and AI technologies in society. Eduard also serves the European Commission in the Sub-Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI), connected products, and other new product safety challenges to the Consumer Safety Network (CSN) to revise the General Product Safety Directive. Among many other publications, Eduard is the author of the book ‘Robots, Healthcare, and the Law. Regulating Automation in Personal Care’ published with Routledge.


Talk: Inferring user’s gender may not be a good idea

Social media platforms employ inferential analytics methods to guess user preferences and sensitive attributes such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and opinions. These methods are often opaque, can predict behaviors for marketing purposes, influence behavior for profit, serve attention economics, and reinforce existing biases such as gender stereotyping. Although two international human rights treaties include express obligations relating to harmful and wrongful stereotyping, these stereotypes persist online and offline, as if platforms failed to understand that gender is not merely being a ‘man’ or a ‘woman,’ but a social construct. In this talk, I explain a study we conducted that investigates the impact of algorithmic bias on inadvertent privacy violations and the reinforcement of gender and sexuality social prejudices through a multidisciplinary perspective, including legal, computer science, and queer media viewpoint. I will discuss how the lack of attention to gender in gender classifiers exacerbates existing biases and affects marginalized communities and promote the online account for privacy, diversity, inclusion, and advocate for the freedom of identity that everyone should have online and offline.