The Future of Law in Technology and Governance

Emerging technologies – from artificial intelligence to blockchain to Big Data – pose enormous challenges to the roles and functions of law in society. Spanning governments and governance, this series features big thinking, emerging thinking, and critical thinking about blends of law, computing, markets, and politics.

This seminar series on the Future of Law in Technology and Governance, organized and moderated by Michael Madison, Professor of Law and John E. Murray Faculty Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, is co-sponsored with the Future Law Project at the University of Pittsburgh Law School and the Center for Governance and Markets. Each one-hour seminar includes a 25-minute presentation by the author followed by 30 minutes for questions and discussion. Virtual rooms will remain open for an additional 30 minutes should any participants want to continue the conversation beyond the hour. 

All seminars are open to the public, but registration is required. 

Spring 2023

April 13, 3 p.m. ET:  Ravit Dotan, University of Pittsburgh Center for Governance and Markets (Register here)


January 19, 3 p.m. ET: Carla Reyes, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law
Computational Entities for Regular People (Watch the seminar here)

This project explores whether and how regular people, the group of non-crypto enthusiast business owners that make-up the majority of LLC members, can take advantage of the rise of computational LLCs. The Article argues that the road to mass adoption of computational LLCs runs through entrepreneurs with little to no prior knowledge of coding, computational law, or blockchain technology and the DAOs that generate the most interest among law-makers and the media. Arguing computational LLCs offer benefits to even the smallest business owner, this Article proceeds in three parts. Part I examines the rise of computational LLCs, the new laws designed to enable their formation, and common objections to both. Section II answers those objections by detailing key legal and business advantages of computational LLCs for regular people. Section II also explores current models for computational LLC code, and reveals the obstacles those models present for most entrepreneurs and their lawyers. Section III solves those obstacles by introducing a form operating agreement for a single member computational LLC, written in natural language code and then considers the broader implications of computational LLCs for business law and entrepreneurial lawyers.

January 26, 3 p.m. ET: Michael Sinha, St. Louis University School of Law
Data Privacy and Security Concerns after Roe v. Wade (Watch the seminar here)

On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning nearly 50 years of precedent established in its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. By eliminating a federal constitutional right to abortion, Dobbs effectively reverted the decision to the states. Almost immediately, several state statutes took effect, some going as far as to ban abortion and criminalize those who aid or abet the process. In Texas, ordinary citizens are now empowered to surveil pregnant persons through the provision of bounties in exchange for information that leads to prosecution. In Nebraska, a Facebook Messenger conversation between a mother and her daughter as to the proper use of medication abortion led to criminal charges. These instances and others have raised concerns about the extent to which our data – health-related or otherwise – can be accessed and misused for malicious purposes. Major gaps in the current US data privacy infrastructure have far-reaching consequences beyond abortion policy, and I will discuss these issues in the context of broader data privacy reform proposals.

February 16, 3 p.m. ET:  Dan Rodriguez, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
Judging the Black Box: AI and Administrative Law

With the steady increase in the use of AI/ML mechanisms in regulatory decisionmaking at the federal and state level, important questions arise about how best to use and adapt administrative law rules to agency decisionmaking. Some reforms look at changing internal processes and structures. Rodriguez's focus is on external oversight, especially the role of reviewing courts in so-called “hard look” review.

March 23, 3 p.m. ET: Jessica Silbey, Boston University School of Law; Sarah Newman, Harvard University metaLAB; and Halsey Burgund
Artificial Justice (Watch the seminar here)

This is a presentation and discussion on Artificial Justice, an ongoing experimental project that explores the complex intersections of Generative AI & the Law. This is a collaboration between professor Jessica Silbey (BU Law), artist & creative technologist Halsey Burgund (MIT Open Docs/metaLAB Harvard), and artist and AI researcher Sarah Newman (metaLAB Harvard/BKC), and is supported by a grant from the Notre Dame Tech Ethics Lab. The work interrogates the intersection of emerging technologies, language, and "justice." As part of the presentation, we ask participants to read short text passages and answer questions about them as they relate to these themes. No expertise is required. We will also share responses from participants in previous workshops.


March 30, 3 p.m. ET:  Jane Winn, University of Washington School of Law and University of Pittsburgh School of Law; and Pam Dixon, World Privacy Forum
Using Information Privacy Standards to Build Governance Markets (Watch here)



Fall 2022

September 15, 2022, 3 p.m. ET: Michal Gal, University of Haifa
Algorithmic Cartels (Watch the seminar here)

Michal Gal is Professor and Director of the Center for Law and Technology at the Faculty of Law, University of Haifa, Israel, and is the elected President of the International Academic Society for Competition Law Scholars (ASCOLA). She was a Visiting Professor at NYU, Columbia, University of Chicago, Georgetown, Melbourne, National University of Singapore, and Bocconi. Professor Gal is the author of several books, including Competition Policy for Small Market Economies (Harvard University Press). She also published numerous scholarly articles on the intersection of competition law and intellectual property, on law and technology, on the effects of the size of the market on regulation, and on algorithms and big data.

October 27, 2022, 3 p.m. ET: Felix Chang and Erin McCabe, University of Cincinnati
Modeling the Caselaw Access Project (Watch the seminar here)

Felix B. Chang serves as the Associate Dean for Faculty and Research at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He is a Professor of Law, Co-Director of the Corporate Law Center, and Director of the Corporate Law Concentration. Professor Chang’s writings span broad aspects of markets, inheritance, and inequality. In antitrust and financial regulation, his prior scholarship examined the balance between competition and systemic risk in the derivatives markets. Along with an interdisciplinary team, he is currently developing new tools for antitrust research through topic modeling.  In the areas of wealth and racial inequality, Professor Chang has written on the redistributive potential of legal rules in trusts and estates, as well as the parallels between Roma inclusion and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Currently, he is working on how inheritance laws affect inequality in China and the United States.

Erin McCabe is Digital Scholarship Library Fellow at the University of Cincinnati. She joined the Digital Scholarship Center as the Digital Scholarship Library Fellow (one of several Mellon grant-funded positions supporting research on machine learning and data visualization) in 2018. She now works on several research teams across disciplines and acts as liaison between academic and technology units. She previously worked on data analysis projects with academic publishers at JSTOR and in reference services at the Brooklyn branch of Long Island University. 

November 10, 2022, 3 p.m. ET: Valerie Racine, Western New England University
Can Blockchain Solve the Dilemma in the Ethics of Genomic Biobanks? (Watch the seminar here)

Valerie Racine completed her Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science at ASU's Center for Biology and Society in 2016. Her dissertation project studied the development of particular research programs in molecular genetics and genomics during the 20th century. After a short stay as a Visiting Fellow at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Klosterneuburg, Austria, she joined Western New England University as Assistant Professor of Philosophy in 2017. She was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 2022 but decided to leave academia soon after. She continues to research topics in bioethics, data ethics, and AI ethics as she pursues a new career trajectory in software development.

December 1, 2022, 3 p.m. ET: Emily Postan, University of Edinburgh Law School
Embodied Narratives: Protecting Identity Interests through Ethical Governance of Bioinformation (Watch the seminar here)

Emily Postan is a Chancellor's Fellow in Bioethics at the University of Edinburgh Law School and a Deputy Director of the Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and the Law, with lead responsibility for the Institute’s policy engagement portfolio. Emily is an interdisciplinary bioethicist with a background in philosophy.  Her main research focus lies in interrogating the roles played by biomedical technologies, personal information, and health informatics in our identities, and in characterizing the ethical significance of these roles. Dr. Postan’s monograph “Embodied Narratives: Protecting Identity Interests through Ethical Governance of Bioinformation” was published by Cambridge University Press in July 2022. This book establishes the ethical imperative for information disclosure practices to take seriously the impacts on our identity-constituting narratives of our encounters with bioinformation about ourselves.

Spring 2022

January 20, 2022, 3 p.m. ET: M. R. Sauter, University of Maryland
Every Rotten Idea Since Adam: How ERISA Reform Made Modern Venture Capital (Watch the seminar here)

March 3, 2022, 3 p.m. ET: Teresa Scassa, University of Ottawa
The Surveillant University (​Watch the seminar here.)

April 7, 2022, 3 p.m. ET: Alicia Solow-Niederman, Harvard Law School
Information Privacy and the Inference Economy

May 5, 2022, 3 p.m. ET: Danielle Citron, University of Virginia
The Fight for Privacy: Protecting Dignity, Identity, and Love in the Digital Age (​Watch the seminar here.)

Fall 2021

September 9, 2021, 3 p.m. ET: Ryan Abbott, University of Surrey
The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law

October 7, 2021, 3 p.m. ET: Annette Vee, University of Pittsburgh
NFTs, Digital Scarcity, and the Computational Aura (Watch the seminar here.)

November 4, 2021, 3 p.m. ET: Sarah Lawsky, Northwestern University
Coding the Code: Catala and Computationally Accessible Tax Law (Watch the seminar here)

December 9, 2021, 3 p.m. ET: Saba Siddiki, Syracuse University and Christopher Frantz, Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology
The Institutional Grammar Research InitiativeInstitutional Grammar 2.0: A specification for encoding and analyzing institutional design (Watch the seminar here)

Spring 2021

January 21, 2021, 3 p.m. ET: Frank Fagan, EDHEC Business School
Competing Algorithms for Law: Sentencing, Admissions, and Employment (Watch the seminar here)

March 4, 2021, 3 p.m. ET: Brett Frischmann, Villanova University
To What End? On Infrastructural Governance (Watch the seminar here)

April 1, 2021, 3 p.m. ET: Margaret Hu, Pennsylvania State University
The Big Data Constitution