LAW 504

Law, Technology, and Society

Technology & the Law

This seminar is designed for students who want to think about how the world we live in shapes and is shaped by technology, and what the role of law is or can be with respect to society and technology's interaction. We will learn to analyze the relationships between technology, law, and society through theoretical and critical lenses. We will examine how law and policy interacts with the development and proliferation of new technologies, or new applications of existing technologies. We will examine the challenges that legislators, judges, and regulators face when acting in contexts affected by technology, including uncertainty about the future, lack of technical expertise, and the speed at which technology develops. We will learn to synthesize insights from a variety of sources and fields in our discussions and in a major research project.While the specific topics in the course will vary from year to year to keep up to date with new developments, examples of topics we may explore include: online speech and harassment, police and private surveillance, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, nonconsensual pornography, deepfakes, and medical contact tracing apps. The readings will draw on cutting edge research in law, computer science, social science, and social theory, as well as contemporary news articles, policy briefs, and opinion pieces. Assessment will primarily be based on class participation and a final research paper. While a willingness to scrutinize the details of technology is required, no math is required or expected.

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