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Spring 2021 - Responsible AI, Law & Society

Cornell Tech Logo Tel Aviv University Logo Technion Logo


The deployment of Artificial Intelligence systems in multiple domains of society raises fundamental challenges and concerns, such as accountability, liability, fairness, transparency and privacy. The dynamic nature of AI systems requires a new set of skills informed by ethics, law, and policy to be applied throughout the life cycle of such systems: design, development and deployment. It also involves ongoing collaboration among data scientists, computer scientists, lawyers and ethicists. Tackling these challenges calls for an interdisciplinary approach: deconstructing these issues by discipline and reconstructing with an integrated mindset, principles and practices between data science, ethics and law. This course aims to do so by bringing together students with diverse disciplinary backgrounds into teams that work together on joint tasks in an intensive series of in-class sessions. These sessions will include lectures, discussions, and group work.

This unique course also brings together students from three institutes: Cornell Tech, Tel Aviv University, and Technion with instructors and teaching assistants from each.



Prof. Avigdor Gal
Faculty of Industrial Engineering & Management

Prof. Niva Elkin-Koren
Faculty of Law
Tel Aviv University

Prof. Helen Nissenbaum
Information Science
Cornell Tech

Dr. Karni Chagal-Feferkorn
Law postdoctoral researcher
University of Ottawa

Shlomi Hod
Computer Science PhD student
Boston University

Teaching Fellows

Margot Hanley
Information Science PhD student
Cornell Tech

Adv. Hofit Wasserman Rozen
Business Manager at Microsoft R&D Israel
Law PhD candidate
Tel Aviv University

Shir Lissak
Data Science M.Sc. student

Adv. Sivan Shachar, LLM
Teaching fellow
Tel Aviv University

Nitay Calderon
Data Science M.Sc. student


Multidisciplinary: approximately half the students are pursuing an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) in Tel Aviv University. The remaining half are Data Science & Engineering senior undergrad students from the Technion and Jacobs Technion-Cornell dual master students from Cornell Tech.


May 27-June 17 | Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
9:30 am - 1:30 pm (Eastern Time Zone)
4:30 pm - 8:30 pm (Israel Time Zone)


The course comprises nine meetings of four clock hours, in a workshop format. The topics explore some of the core issues in the landscape of Responsible AI, law, ethics and society.

Class Date Topics Verticals
1 May 27th
Liability & Robustness Autonomous Vehicles
2 June 1st
Discrimination & Fairness Labour Market
3 June 3rd
Discrimination & Fairness Healthcare
4 June 7th
Transparency & Explainability Finance
5 June 8th
Privacy Transportation
6 June 10th
Privacy - con't

Values at Play

Dating Apps
7 June 14th
Values at Play - con't
Accountability, AI Governance & Professional Responsibility
Final Project Session
Dating Apps
Smart Cities
8 June 15th
Integration: Content Moderation Social Media Platforms
9 June 17th
Project Presentations and Course Summary

Learning Objectives.

1. Multidisciplinary dialogue

By the end of the course, the students will be able to communicate with professionals from other disciplines, identify gaps in the meaning of terms and perspectives, and develop a shared language.

2. Responsible AI

By the end of the course, the students will …

  1. be aware of the impact of AI on individuals, groups, society and humanity, and proactively spot ethical issues and scan for unintended consequences and potential harms.
  2. possess introductory knowledge and skills to oversight and audit AI systems through their life cycle (design, development and deployment).
  3. be able to find and use resources to achieve all of the above.

3. Professional Responsibility

By the end of the course, the students will take the first steps in shaping their responsibility as professionals, and be motivated to act upon it.


The teaching is based on the signature pedagogy of each discipline; case-studies for Law and iterated and interactive research of data (e.g., with Jupyter Notebook) for Data Science. These two pedagogies are being used in every class, accessible to all of the students, and integrated together.


Every class is built around one central task that requires the integration of law and data science perspectives with ethical considerations. The tasks are performed in teams which will be formed before the start of the course. Teams are assigned by the course staff and are fixed for the duration of the course. Teams are designed to consist of mixed backgrounds and disciplines.


Multidisciplinary teamwork is an indispensable component in this course, so the active participation of all students is necessary for successful learning. Therefore, a student might miss at most one class, but only for a justified reason after confirming with the instructor of their respective institution at least 3 days in advance.

Pre-Class Assignments

There are few assignments to be done and submitted before some of the classes. The students will use the outcomes of these assignments in the class. The submissions are mandatory but not graded.

In-Class Assignments

In every class, all teams are required to submit a half-pager memo and a deck of a few slides at the end of each class. Each team will present twice during the course.

Final Project

In their final project, the teams will be asked to develop a new case-study that makes use of data sets and data science techniques to demonstrate a legal and ethical dilemma regarding Responsible AI, Law, Ethics and Society. Additional instructions here.


The assignments and the final project will be evaluated in terms of how well they reflect learning from readings and in-class discussion, with particular attention the integration of technical, legal, and ethical perspectives. We will publish a rubric soon.

Grading Breakdown

  • Final project: 40%
  • In-class assignments (half-pager memo and slide deck x 8 class): 40%
  • Presentation during class (x2 for each team): 20%