Legislating the digital age
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Meanwhile, have a look at the current state of the legal system.
Complex technologies are penetrating all aspects of our lives. They are mostly unchecked and unregulated. It’s obvious the current legal framework is not equipped to tackle the harmful side-effects, let alone the challenges we are about to face once artificial intelligence matures.
Radically new technologies are extremely difficult to regulate, as they morph into a new form as soon as the lengthy legislative process results in some semblance of a restrictive framework.
For many technologies, there aren’t even universally accepted definitions to describe them. Furthermore, nimble technology companies will always outpace the legislation that is meant to control them.
When some rules are finally set, such as the European privacy guidelines, the legal obstacles are so fragmented that the tech companies can easily bypass them.
To legislate the digital sphere, we need to understand the underlying technologies. How else can we regulate concepts that don’t even have a name? The answer is as simple as it is disturbing: we cannot.
That does not mean, nothing can be done. Even the big tech companies realize that the pit forks may at one point be coming for them as well, and recognize that something should be done. They tend to opt for ethical codes and self-regulation, but more can be done.
Protecting the rule of law will require both academic programs and continuous in-service training at the intersection of technology and law.
Most countries took centuries to formulate and enrich their legal systems. We do not have that kind of time in the fast-paced digital age.
At NEXT Institute for Technology & Law, we believe there is a window of opportunity to build a solid and hybrid legal framework, but that window is closing. Yet, if we want to have a say in our future, we better start learning the language.
NEXT Institute offers interdisciplinary courses for legal-technology hybrids. We connect the dots between technology and law, so you can form your own opinion.
We explain the technologies and related phenomena that are shaping our future – and place them in legal context. The courses also identify the painful dilemmas we’ll have to mitigate in the near future.
What we offer is digital empowerment.
21st century professionals
The ability to think across disciplines is essential to the work of many 21st-century professionals.
Visionary and bold lawmakers are needed. At the very least, those administrative officials who actually write the laws need to be well-versed on what is occurring in their field.