26 May 2023
09:30 - 17:00
Drift 21, Utrecht (Sweelinckzaal, Room 0.05)

Expert meeting on “Models and Measures for Autonomous Agency”; pending confirmation of the exact date

Autonomy as the ability to make choices free from external influence is central to modern democratic societies. Whereas the concept of autonomy often refers to human conduct in social context, autonomy is also a key aspect of the behavior of machines in the context of AI. Recent research has made quite some progress in understanding the social, cognitive, and neural underpinnings of human autonomy. Furthermore, research in AI has started to address the importance of autonomy in studying and designing artificial agents in the service of human needs and goals. Despite the relevance of autonomy for human and artificial agents, not much attention has been given to the question of how to map the “human autonomy talk” onto machines, and vice versa.

With the rise of the interest in artificial intelligence, there is an ever-increasing societal demand to understand and adapt to the possibility of fully autonomous artificial agents. Governments, lawmakers, and stakeholders are facing demands to classify agents as autonomous, fully autonomous, non-autonomous or autonomous in a niche, in order to regulate their rights and obligations. As such, ascribing autonomy to agents has strong ramifications for the analysis of ethical and legal issues in society. But what criteria should we use to decide whether an agent is autonomous or not? How to measure such autonomy? Addressing these and other related questions calls for a better examination of the interplay between human and machine autonomy.

This one-day expert meeting brings together different research angles on how to model and measure autonomy in human and artificial agents. The meeting includes presentations from different disciplines, such as psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, computer science, artificial intelligence and engineering, with an eye on bridging gaps between different methodologies in modelling and measuring autonomy. The following speakers have confirmed:

Prof. Agnieszka Wykowska

Prof. Emely de Vet

Prof. Frank Dignum 

Prof. Marcel Brass 

Prof. Natalie Gold

Prof. Rafael Calvo

The expert meeting starts at 9.30 AM and closes with a general discussion at 5 PM. The venue of the meeting is: Drift 21, Room 0.05 (Sweelinckzaal).

If you are interested to participate, please register by sending a mail to Stipe Pandžić ( before April 20. We have a limited number of seats and operate on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive more details after you have been registered.