2nd IViR “Science Fiction & Information Law” short story competition

Projectile trains for the moon drawn by Montaut in 1890 to illustrate Jules Verne’s book From the Earth to the Moon.

This is the second call for short stories for the
IViR Science Fiction & Information Law
story competition.

From the many exciting contributions to our first call it became clear that science fiction is a source of inspiration for many information law scholars to reflect on the societal implications of technologies, and the other way round.


Information law has its role in driving the future in one direction or other by helping shape the laws that govern future technologies. Since our last call for papers, sci-fi and information law seemed to have drawn even closer together, and current regulatory proposals to regulate AI, robots and the relationship between AI and humans sound distinctively sci-fi. But, as the famous sci-fi author Stanislaw Lem already observed

A man can control only what he comprehends, and comprehend only what he is able to put into words.”
(S. Lem, Futurologist Congress).

We are at a point in time where our governments are writing rules for technological applications that previous generations of sci-fi authors invented words for: self-driving cars, hoverboards, autonomous robot armies, augmented reality, algorithmic systems that can sense and monitor our thoughts and emotions or predict how we will behave in the future, newspapers that are fully automated, robots that care for our elderly, social networks that have started to behave like governments, predictive policing… Where are these developments taking us as a society? What are the ethical, legal, economic, sociological implications of the apparently ever-accelerating technological progress? And what will information law look like in the future?

About the competition

To give words to the future of technology, mankind and of law, we are holding the second IViR Science Fiction & Information Law writing competition. We welcome short stories (maximum 10,000 words) that reflect on our automated future, where algorithms, AI and virtual agents have become part of our everyday reality. How will AI and automation write our news, predict our careers and re-invent concepts such as justice, art, property, health, love and happiness? What will such a reality look like, how can we imagine society, its institutions and regulations? Will there be a role for law at all, will it give us or AI new rights, or will governments surrender to the superior expertise of tech companies and quantum computers? And after having lived through an entire year of doom and pandemics, are there any hopeful scenarios we can imagine in co-existence with technology?

The best essays will be awarded the IViR Science Fiction & Information Law Award by an independent jury (including, among others, Malka Older, Ryan Calo, Wolfgang Schulz). The winning authors will be invited to Amsterdam for a symposium and a grand dinner. At this public symposium the essays and the ideas in the essays will be introduced to an audience of academics and non-academics, kicking off a lively discussion about how they can inspire our thinking about a future society with AI, but also regulatory projects, such as the pending AI regulation. Together, these contributions will be published in the form of a special issue in a dedicated open access online journal.

More information & submission

For any questions, please feel free to contact Natali Helberger (n.helberger@uva.nl).
The deadline for this call for stories is 30 November 2021.
You can submit your story to n.p.vandoorn@uva.nl