Blockchain and artificial intelligence: a new crisis of confidence?

Main contact person: Anna Scius-Bertrand, anna.scius-bertrand(at)

Chair persons:

Danièle Bourcier, daniele.bourcier(at),
CERSA 10 rue Thénard 75005 Paris, Directrice de recherche au CNRS, CERSA, Université Paris 2. 

Anna Scius-Bertrand, anna.scius-bertrand(at),
EPHE 4-14 rue Ferrus 75014 Paris, contractual doctoral student at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, attached to the
Human and Artificial Cognition laboratory. His thesis focuses on smarts contracts and their applications in the field of energy.

Description of the workshop:
The blockchain was born following a crisis of confidence in financial institutions.
The first form of blockchain was Bitcoin, a virtual currency using cryptographic algorithms to secure transactions.
Originally, the public blockchain claimed to provide solutions through three characteristics:

  • Decentralization: since all transactions are initiated by Internet users.
  • Transparency: everybody can view transactions.
  • Security: all proofs of transactions are recorded and cannot be modified under certain

Today, the blockchain has been extended to other fields: insurance, energy, education, notaries, etc. Uses can be data timestamping, certification of transactions or the execution of smart contracts. But few real-world and full-scale applications have been implemented. Yet
they are endowed with an almost magical power and the legal limits have already been underlined, especially for smart contracts.
In the same way, Artificial Intelligence and algorithmic decision are experiencing a spectacular revival with the increase in speed and computing power as well as with the explosion of big data. Sensitive applications are beginning to develop in all disciplinary fields
(LEGALTECH, Medicine, organization,…). Their advantages are not very well defined (productivity, speed…) and robotization of society is considered more and more as a threat for unemployment.
Originally, these technologies respond to the demands of the crisis of confidence. However, their experiments raise many fears about their use. What are the limitations of these technologies? What types of risks can they address? What risks can they generate?
The objective of this workshop is to reflect on the founding principles and limits of blockchain and artificial intelligence at the same time that projects are developing applications without thinking of ethical limitations.

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