Global Tech Law: Selected Topics Seminar
This seminar will explore the relationship between global digital technologies and law (‘global tech law’) by studying selected topics that illuminate the interplay between interconnected hardware and software (code), data, and law. It will provide a basic introduction to the foundational technologies of the digital age–the binary system, computation, and the Internet–as well as to rapidly developing digital technologies such as distributed ledgers (blockchain), artificial intelligence / machine learning, and quantum computing–designed to be accessible to law students without prior technological background or formal training in computer science. These technologies transcend the jurisdictional boundaries of individual countries due to factors ranging from the interconnectedness of the Internet and the super-mobility of data and control functions, to the economic interests of global business and their customers in technologies they can deploy and use almost anywhere.
The relevant formal law includes a complex patchwork of state/national, transnational, and international legal structures for contracting, IPR and other property rights and management, dispute diversion and resolution, governmental regulation, public administration, and industry or organization-specific self-governance. Naturally, the seminar will not be able to provide a comprehensive introduction to these areas of law. But studying a set of carefully selected topics (including localization and identification technologies, cloud computing, blockchain, AI / ML, self-driving vehicles, and smart cities) will bring out certain technological and legal design features that tomorrow’s lawyers will need to understand to address the societal and economic implications of global digital technologies through well-crafted national and transnational legal and regulatory strategies going forward.