Law 590 - Disruptive Technology

Alicia Solow-Niederman

Alicia Solow-Niederman

PULSE Fellow in Artificial Intelligence, Law, and Policy
B.A. Stanford University, 2011
J.D. Harvard Law School, 2017
Course Description:

In this highly participatory seminar, students will assess the complex relationship among disruptive technologies, law, and regulation, with an emphasis on the U.S. legal system. The course will draw on interdisciplinary materials from law, hard science, and social science to provide both theoretical and technical background. We’ll begin by canvassing core scholarship on regulation of technology and cyberlaw and introducing a selected set of disruptive technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence / machine learning, and biometrics. Using particular technologies and/or closely associated legal documents (statutes, regulations, court cases, etc.) as case studies, we will then take up both descriptive and prescriptive questions. Given facts and law on the ground today, how are such technologies and their deployments challenging legal doctrines, statutes, and regulatory regimes? Looking ahead, what legal issues and challenges are likely to emerge — and how, if at all, should lawyers and policymakers respond?

This seminar assumes no technical background, though students with formal or informal training in technology or science are welcome. Law 148 - Constitutional Law 1 or a comparable study of constitutional law is highly recommended. This is not a seminar for spectators; all enrolled students are asked to commit to active engagement each week, and will co-lead part of a class meeting at least once during the semester. Non-law students may be admitted with the written permission of the instructor. Please feel free to contact me for more information.

Course Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, students will:

  • Learn about specific current interactions between disruptive technologies and legal doctrine and policies (as articulated in case law, statutes, and regulations)
  • Analyze emerging legal and regulatory challenges on the horizon
  • Think critically about how law evolves over time, and under what conditions law and regulation should adapt
  • Gain fluency in basic technological concepts that surround case studies such as blockchain and artifical intelligence, empowering them to serve as counsel on technical issues or translate between technologists and lawyers/policymakers
Technology & the Law;