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A photo of Professor Sylvie Delacroix speaking at an event

Professor Sylvie Delacroix

Inaugural Jeff Price Chair in Digital Law and Director of the Centre for Data Futures

  • Director of the Centre for Data Futures
  • Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute

Biography

Sylvie Delacroix is the Inaugural Jeff Price Chair in Digital Law. She is also a fellow of the Alan Turing Institute and a visiting professor at Tohoku University. Her research focuses on the role played by habit within ethical agency, the social sustainability of the data ecosystem that makes generative AI possible and bottom-up data empowerment. The latter work led to the first data trusts pilots worldwide being launched in 2022 in the context of the Data Trusts initiative www.datatrusts.uk.

The public policy dimensions of her work have led her to being invited to contribute to multiple policy initiatives. She has also acted as an expert for public bodies, such as the UK’s DCMS Department, and served on the Public Policy Commission on the use of algorithms in the justice system (Law Society of England and Wales).

Her current work on agency-enhancing, participatory infrastructure and the communication of uncertainty in the context of LLMs deployed in morally-loaded contexts has been funded by  Omidyar Network. Previously, Professor Delacroix's work has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, the NHS, Mozilla Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust, from whom she received the Leverhulme Prize. Her latest book Habitual Ethics?  was published by Bloomsbury in 2022 (open-access).

Research Interests 

Sylvie's research focuses on agency, broadly construed. The different strands of her research all seek to unearth the factors that can compromise our capacity to question the way things are and project ourselves into the future. This question often brings her right at the intersection between law and ethics.

Sometimes her interest in agency does not intersect with law as such, but rather with the ambient, data-intensive technologies we have become so reliant on. In a series of recent publications, she questions the logic underlying the optimisation tools at the heart of these data-intensive technologies. When the foods we eat, the people we meet and the books we read are all streamlined according to the traits and desires inferred from our past behaviour, have we gained a greater degree of agency?

In a distinct, but related vein, her work on Machine learning interpretability calls for the introduction of ‘ensemble contestability features’. This work underlies a concrete, cross-disciplinary project that compares concrete ways of incentivising contestability for ML systems deployed in ethically or legally significant contexts.

At other times her interest in agency is (almost) self-contained. While Habitual Ethics? investigates the non-deliberative underpinnings of ethical agency, a publication on Turing on Lovelace looks at the relationship between agency, originality and surprise. Habitual Ethics has been reviewed by The British Journal of General Practice and will also be reviewed in the forthcoming Jurisprudence: book symposium, with reviews by Gerald Postema, Mario De Caro and Sarah Fine. You can read a pre-print link to her reply. 

Sometimes her interest in agency leads her to put forward novel legal mechanisms. The data trusts framework developed with Neil Lawrence is meant to complement top-down regulation. As bottom-up empowerment mechanisms (pilots here), data trusts enable groups to pool together the rights they have over their data and task an intermediary – the data trustee - to leverage those rights. The data trustee may then be in a position to obtain better terms and conditions with service providers and/or monitor data sharing agreements.

Sometimes her interest in agency leads her to criticise existing legal frameworks. Her article on professional responsibility (OJLS) for instance criticises the courts’ delineation of obligations meant to address lay vulnerability: the perduring focus on knowledge asymmetry misses the extent to which the vulnerability at stake has to do with a patient’s / client’s / pupil’s ongoing ability to (re)construct their ‘sense of self’.

You can find more information about Sylvie and her work at https://delacroix.uk/

Her social media handles are:

Teaching Interests 

  • Philosophy of Law
  • Legal Theory
  • Philosophy and AI, data-related themes

PhD supervisions

Yes, Sylvie is accepting PhD supervisions.

Publications 

Please refer to Sylvie's website for a comprehensive list of  publications. 

Research

datafutures
Centre for Data Futures

Bringing together interdisciplinary experts to focus on participatory infrastructure throughout the life of data-reliant tools.

News

Professor Sylvie Delacroix appointed as inaugural Jeff Price Chair in Digital Law

Professor Sylvie Delacroix has been appointed as the inaugural Jeff Price Chair in Digital Law at The Dickson Poon School of Law.

A photo of Professor Sylvie Delacroix speaking at an event

Events

22Maydata-maze-turing-commons

Beyond AI safety: can we make the AI revolution socially sustainable?

Professor Sylvie Delacroix delivers a keynote lecture as part of the King's Festival of Artificial Intelligence, asking 'can we make the AI revolution...

07Maygingerich-ai-adjudication-2

How AI-Adjudication might Erode Law as a Site of Moral Perceptual Progress

The Centre for Data Futures hosts Janna van Grunsven (Delft University of Technology)

Research

datafutures
Centre for Data Futures

Bringing together interdisciplinary experts to focus on participatory infrastructure throughout the life of data-reliant tools.

News

Professor Sylvie Delacroix appointed as inaugural Jeff Price Chair in Digital Law

Professor Sylvie Delacroix has been appointed as the inaugural Jeff Price Chair in Digital Law at The Dickson Poon School of Law.

A photo of Professor Sylvie Delacroix speaking at an event

Events

22Maydata-maze-turing-commons

Beyond AI safety: can we make the AI revolution socially sustainable?

Professor Sylvie Delacroix delivers a keynote lecture as part of the King's Festival of Artificial Intelligence, asking 'can we make the AI revolution...

07Maygingerich-ai-adjudication-2

How AI-Adjudication might Erode Law as a Site of Moral Perceptual Progress

The Centre for Data Futures hosts Janna van Grunsven (Delft University of Technology)