Law 489 - Future Law: Law and Governance under transformative societal trends
Edward A. Parson
Faculty Co-Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
M.Sc. University of British Columbia, 1981
Ph.D. Harvard University, 1992
This course will examine the challenges posed to legal arrangements and institutions of government by certain societal trends – principally related to technological advance and environmental stress – that are likely to have broad and disruptive societal impacts over the professional lifetimes of today’s law students. Examples of topics we will consider include technological enhancement of human capabilities, human lifespan extension, development of human-comparable intelligence and consciousness in non-human substrates (mainly machines), severe environmental change (considering both controlling the human inputs driving it and adapting to the resultant changes), and active engineered control of the global environment.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
1. Discuss knowledgeably the nature of technological and environmental trends challenging current legal practices and authorities
2. Competently analyze the origins and character of resultant challenges to law and public policy
3. Competently apply legal, institutional, and policy analysis to identify and assess potential legal and policy responses to these challenges.