ERMeCC Lunch Seminar

Start date

Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020, 12:00

End date

Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020, 13:00

Polak 1-17

On 21 January there will be an ERMeCC Lunch Seminar in Polak 1-17 from 12:00 to 13:00. Please feel free to bring your lunch and comments! In turn, we will provide intellectual stimulation by presenting the research detailed below

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Intelligence Community

Simon Willmetts (University of Leiden)

 This paper will explore the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies upon the work of secret intelligence services, and how these impacts will in turn affect wider society.  It will focus in particular on the surveillance-privacy nexus, as well as the accountability and governance issues that arise from an increasing reliance upon oftentimes opaque algorithmic processes.  In the last five years improvements in machine learning technologies, facial recognition software and natural language processing have led to a number of breakthroughs in the field of AI.  In turn, China, Russia and the United States have invested vast sums of money competing for dominance in the field.  In the US, investment and research arms of the military and intelligence community, such as DARPA, IARPA and In-Q-Tel have made significant investments in new AI-aided applications for the benefit of the intelligence community.  How will these applications transform the work of intelligence services?  And in turn what will this mean for the governance of intelligence services in democratic societies, and the balance of security and civil liberties?  

El Pais and the Catalan Challenge: The Limits of Traditional Media in Times of Crisis

Zoltan Dujisin (ESHCC)

During the 2017-18 Catalan crisis El Pais, one of Europe’s most prestigious center-left dailies, positioned itself as a strong and uncompromising voice against Catalan secessionism. The hard line taken by Spain’s paper of record mirrored the official position of the Spanish conservative government and Monarchy, surprising many observers. Yet as multiple interviews with current and former journalists at El Pais reveal, the paper’s coverage of events in Catalonia, which excluded dissenting voices to an unprecedented extent, is symptomatic of the traditional media’s vulnerability in times of crisis. In a familiar story to much of the printed press in the West, El Pais was severely hit by the 2008 economic crisis. My research shows how this vulnerability creates a feedback loop whereby the media’s legitimacy crisis exposes it to political pressure, which in turn worsens its legitimacy in the public. Specifically, I describe the mechanisms by which political pressure is exerted through editors in chief, who emerge as mediators between political and economic power and an increasingly disillusioned and cynical newsroom. 

More information

If you or someone you know would like to present their research, or if you have any questions about the seminar series, please feel free to contact Daniel Trottier (