Karen Yeung


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Karen welcomes proposals interested in critically examining the legal, democratic and ethical dimensions of a suite of technologies associated with networked computational systems, including big data analytics, artificial intelligence (including various forms of machine learning), distributed ledgers (including blockchain) and robotics.

Professor Yeung is open to considering PhD students with an outstanding academic record and strong research proposals. She reviews requests to consider PhD supervision on a quarterly basis. Please contact Marianne Meyer via email on PA-IPFLawandEthics@contacts.bham.ac.uk for information concerning forthcoming deadlines for requests and supporting documentation.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Karen came to the United Kingdom from Australia in 1993 as a Rhodes Scholar to read for the Bachelor of Civil Law at Oxford University, after completing a combined Law/Commerce degree at the University of Melbourne. She spent ten years as a University Lecturer at Oxford University and as a Fellow of St Anne’s College, where she wrote her D Phil, before taking up a Chair in Law at King’s College London in September 2006 to help establish the Centre for Technology, Law & Society (‘TELOS’), occupying the role of Director since 2012 until the end of 2017.

Research interests

Karen’s research expertise lies in the regulation and governance of, and through, new and emerging technologies.  Her work has been at the forefront of nurturing ‘law, regulation and technology’ as a sub-field of legal and interdisciplinary scholarship.

Karen’s recent and on-going work focuses on the legal, ethical, social and democratic implications of a suite of technologies associated with automation and the ‘computational turn’, including big data analytics, artificial intelligence (including various forms of machine learning), distributed ledger technologies (including blockchain) and robotics. The overarching aim of her research is to enrich our understanding of the capacity and potential of these technologies to inform decision-making and to influence and co-ordinate individual and collective behaviour across a wide range of policy domains through the broad lenses of ‘Algorithmic Regulation’ and ‘Algorithmic Accountability’. She is currently undertaking series of inquiries which, taken together, seek to explore their implications for normative values associated with liberal constitutional democracies, including:

  • democracy and democratic governance, including the need for public participation in their design, construction and implementation, and the value weightings and trade-offs that are hard-wired into system development and operation;
  • constitutional values, including transparency, accountability, due process, proportionality and the rule of law;
  • individual rights, freedom, autonomy and human dignity;
  • equality, community, social solidarity and distributive justice; and
  • the allocation of decision-making authority, responsibility and liability between humans and machines.

In pursuing these aims, Karen draw upon a broad range of disciplinary perspectives from the humanities, social sciences (and increasingly, the computer sciences), including law, applied ethics (professional ethics, bioethics, information ethics, machine ethics and robot ethics), political theory, political science, regulatory governance studies, the philosophy of technology, the sociology of science (including STS and innovation studies) and criminology. Her most recent work has involved collaborations with AI researchers and data and computer scientists and she has recently been awarded a Wellcome Trust Seed Award in the Social Sciences to lead an interdisciplinary project which seeks to map the legal, ethical, technical and governance challenges associated with regulating healthcare through blockchain.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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