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The Epistemic Challenges Facing the Regulation of AI

Reading time: 8 minutes

Written by Tristan Koh and Josh Lee

The regulation of artificial intelligence (“AI”) has been a hot topic in recent years. This may stem from increased societal awareness of: (a) the possibilities that AI may deliver across various domains; and (b) the risks that the implementation of AI may cause (e.g., the risk of bias, discrimination, and the loss of human autonomy). These risks, in particular, have led renowned thought leaders to claims that AI technologies are “vastly more risky than North Korea” and could be the “worst event in the history of our civilisation”.

A key challenge facing any policymaker creating regulations for AI (or, for that matter, any new technology), however, is the epistemic (i.e., knowledge-based) challenge – policymakers must have domain knowledge in order to be able to sufficiently appreciate the scope, size, degree and impact of any regulation, and be able to propose solutions that are effective and pragmatic.[1]  In fact, it has been recognised in some governments that subject-matter expertise is lacking when policies or regulations are being crafted.[2] To effectively regulate the development and use of AI, it is clear that policymakers and regulators will need to possess a deep understanding of AI technology and its technical underpinnings.

While a full exposition of AI technology in this short article would not be possible, this article sets out some of the key technical features that policymakers and regulators should consider in the regulation of AI. In particular, this piece focuses on neural networks, a key element in modern AI systems. 

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A brief analysis of the legal validity of smart contracts in Singapore

Reading time: 13 minutes

Written by Louis Lau | Mentored by Josh Lee | Edited by Lim How Khang and Josh Lee

LawTech.Asia is proud to conclude the first run of its Inaugural Associate Author Programme by publishing the works of its Associate Authors. The aim of the Associate Authorship Programme was to develop the knowledge and exposure of student writers in the domains of law and technology, while providing them with mentorship from LawTech.Asia’s writers and tailored guidance from a well-respected industry mentor.

This first run of the Associate Author Programme was a partnership between LawTech.Asia and Singapore Management University’s Legal Innovation and Technology Club. After a thorough selection process, two students were selected as Associate Authors, where they worked on thought pieces with a mentor from LawTech.Asia. Their pieces were each industry-reviewed by a respected thought leader from the legal technology industry.

This piece by Louis Lau, reviewed by industry reviewer Lim How Khang (Assistant Professor at the Singapore Management University), marks the first thought piece in this series, and provides an analysis on the legal validity of smart contracts in Singapore.

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Legal Technology in Singapore: Second Edition

Reading time: 2 minutes

Written by Cai Xiaohan, Tristan Koh, Utsav Rakshit | Edited by Josh Lee Kok Thong

In October 2018, LawTech.Asia published the first-ever detailed outline of the legal technology sector in Singapore. It was the result of a months-long project to map out the root, state and outlook of the legal technology sector in Singapore, and furthers LawTech.Asia’s fundamental purpose of improving awareness, knowledge and interest in legal technology. The article was imagined as a “living document” that will continue to be updated as more news comes to the fore.

Much has happened in the legal tech scene in Singapore since then. To encapsulate these developments, LawTech.Asia is proud to present the second edition of “Legal Technology in Singapore”.

Our first edition had argued that Singapore is currently in the midst of a “legal tech revolution”, which began sometime in 2015 and which was spearheaded by the government in Singapore. The past year has seen the government invest even more resources into new initiatives to support legal tech adoption, and this edition of our article has been updated to include the following new developments: 

  1. Recent statements by the Judiciary on legal tech in Singapore;
  2. New assistance schemes to support the adoption of technology in Singapore, such as:
    • Asia’s first legal tech accelerator, GLIDE by FLIP;
    • Tech-celerate for Law by the Law Society of Singapore, which will fund legal tech adoption by law firms;
    • Advancement of legal tech in the State Courts;
    • The establishment of the SmartLaw Guild;
  3. The new creation of legal tech office-holders in public sector institutions; and
  4. The development of tech-related curricula in local law schools.

In this second edition, we also posit that the Singapore legal tech revolution has entered into a new phase: new ground-up initiatives in the legal profession to support legal tech adoption. We suggest that more law firms, law students, and legal tech solution providers have started their own initiatives to encourage legal tech adoption. This new edition of our article covers, in particular, the law firms which have championed legal tech adoption by being early adopters, producing their own technology, or launching their own legal tech incubators / accelerators.

In our first edition of the article, we had also outlined three forces influencing the development of Singapore’s legal tech revolution: the liberalisation and internationalisation of Singapore’s legal industry; the increasing sophistication of clients; and increasing technological capability. In this second edition, we introduce a fourth influence: the progressive changes in Singapore substantive laws. We argue that, as Singapore’s lawmakers introduce progressive laws which encourage, rather than inhibit, legal tech growth, this would also shape the course of the legal tech revolution for the better. Laws discussed include the passing of the Payment Services Act 2019 as well as the proposed amendments to the Electronic Transactions Act.

To access the updated version of the article, “Legal Technology in Singapore”, click here!

As before, the authors wish to express thanks for the innumerable sources of information available online, without which this project would not have been possible. Any mistakes herein remain the authors’ own.

Launch of South East Asia’s first LegalTech movement

Reading time: 2 minutes

Guest post by ASEAN LegalTech

The LegalTech segment has now moved into the mainstream consciousness of the legal market across Asia and in particular the South East Asian region. While the global LegalTech narrative is dominated by mature legal markets like Australia, Europe and the USA, there is no shortage of LegalTech startups building innovative solutions across the ten countries that compose the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”). 

ASEAN LegalTech (“ALT”) was formed in May 2019 with the aim of connecting LegalTech pioneers, thought leaders and enthusiasts to promote and build the LegalTech ecosystem in the South East Asian markets. One of ASEAN LegalTech’s goals is to provide a voice to the emerging market to inform discussions with regulators who are in the early stages of determining how to regulate LegalTech.  

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New Regional Association Unites Region’s Legal and Technology Innovators

Reading time: 3 minutes

ALITA is the first Asia-Pacific organisation to inclusively bring together regional stakeholders to promote innovation and technology for legal services. 

A new international association to promote the development and adoption of legal innovation and technology in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) was launched on Thursday September 5, 2019.

Held at TechLaw.Fest 2019, an annual law and technology conference in Singapore, the launch of the Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA) was officiated by Justice Lee Seiu Kin, a Supreme Court Judge of Singapore and Chairman of the Legal Technology Cluster of the Singapore Academy of Law. 

The official logo of ALITA.

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TechLaw.Fest 2019 Quick Chats: William Deckelman, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of DXC Technology

Reading time: 7 minutes

Interview by Andrew Wong, Ong Chin Ngee, Lenon Ong | Edited by Josh Lee

TechLaw.Fest 2019 will take place from 5 to 6 September 2019 in Singapore, bringing together the movers and shakers in the space of law and technology. In these few weeks leading up to TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team will be bringing you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest.

This week, LawTech.Asia received the exclusive opportunity to interview William Deckelman, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of DXC Technology. William will be kicking off Day 2 of TechLaw.Fest 2019 with a thematic lecture on security and connectivity.

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TechLaw.Fest 2019 Quick Chats: Dirk Hartung, Bucerius Law School

Reading time: 5 minutes

Interview by Tristan Koh and Nisha Rajoo | Edited by Josh Lee

TechLaw.Fest 2019 will take place from 5 to 6 September 2019 in Singapore, bringing together the movers and shakers in the space of law and technology. In the next few weeks leading up to TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team will be bringing you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest.

This week, LawTech.Asia received the exclusive opportunity to interview Dirk Hartung, Executive Director of Legal Technology at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany.

At TechLaw.Fest 2019, Dirk will be speaking on a panel titled, “Innovation Journey Dialogue for In-House Legal Departments”, along with the other leading thought leaders who will be sharing insights for in-house counsel looking to embark on digital transformation. 

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TechLaw.Fest 2019 Quick Chats: Mark A. Cohen, Legal Mosaic

Reading time: 5 minutes

Interview by Ong Chin Ngee, Sanjana Ayagari, Utsav Rakshit | Edited by Josh Lee

TechLaw.Fest 2019 will take place from 5 to 6 September 2019 in Singapore, bringing together the movers and shakers in the space of law and technology. In the weeks leading up to TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team will be bringing you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking about at TechLaw.Fest.

This week, LawTech.Asia received the exclusive opportunity to interview Mark Cohen, CEO of Legal Mosaic. Legal Mosaic is a legal business consultancy providing strategic advice to various stakeholders in the legal industry. Mark is also a regular contributor to Forbes, and is widely recognised as a global thought leader in legal technology. He also serves as the inaugural Singapore Academy of Law/LIFTED Catalyst-in-Residence, and the Chief Editor of the forthcoming SAL/LIFTED Global Partner Network initiative white paper on future legal skills. 

At TechLaw.Fest 2019, Mark will be moderating a panel titled, “Innovation Journey Dialogue for In-House Legal Departments”, which features leading prominent GC’s who will be sharing insights for in-house counsel looking to embark on digital transformation. Here, Mark shares his view on the role of technology on legal services delivery, the future of legal education, and what he believes are the crucial characteristics for future law firms. 

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TechLaw.Fest 2019 Quick Chats: Jerrold Soh, Singapore Management University

Reading time: 8 minutes

Interview by Nisha Rajoo and Andrew Wong | Edited by Josh Lee

TechLaw.Fest 2019 will take place from 5 to 6 September 2019 in Singapore, bringing together the movers and shakers in the space of law and technology. In these few weeks leading up to TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team will be bringing you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest.

This week, LawTech.Asia received the exclusive opportunity to interview Jerrold Soh, a Lecturer of Law in the Singapore Management University (“SMU”) School of Law. Jerrold is also a co-founder of Lex Quanta, a Singapore-based legal analytics startup, in which he leads data science research and development.

At TechLaw.Fest 2019, Jerrold will be speaking on a panel titled, “A Review of the State of Legal Innovation in the Asia Pacific”, which features leading thought leaders who will be discussing the State of Legal Innovation in the Asia Pacific (“SOLIA”) 2019 Report, for which Jerrold served as the Chief Editor.

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LawTech.Asia: Media Partner for TechLaw.Fest 2019!

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We are proud to be recognised by the Singapore Academy of Law as an official media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2019!

Organised by the Singapore Academy of Law, TechLaw.Fest 2019 (happening from 5 to 6 September 2019) is a signature convention in Singapore that will be the focal point for leading thinkers, leaders and pioneers in law and technology.

Key highlights of TechLaw.Fest 2019 include:

  • A main conference themed “The Net Effect of Data: Commerce, Connectivity & Control”, which will provide deep dialogues and deeper appreciation of legal and regulatory issues around responsible data use, access and control of data, data security and 5G, and the role of data in commerce.
  • Over 60 prominent speakers speaking and leading panel discussions on law and technology. Notable speakers this year include Singapore’s Minister for Law Mr. K. Shanmugam S.C., Sir Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web), Mr Bill Deckelman (Executive VP, DXC Technologies), Mr Antony Cook (Regional VP, Microsoft Asia), and many more!
  • Deep Dive seminars, Innovation Journey dialogues, Firehose sessions, Legal Tech Exhibitions, Tech Talks, Business Networking, and more activities — allowing participants to engage, learn, share, inspire, innovate, connect, and be a part of shaping our collective future in law and technology!

From now to September 2019, LawTech.Asia will be bringing you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest. These speakers include key leaders from:

  • Bucerius Law School
  • DXC Technologies
  • Legal Mosaic
  • Singapore Management University
  • And more!

Our readers will also receive special perks, including a promo code that provides a 20% discount off tickets for TechLaw.Fest. To stay updated, do subscribe to our mailing list, follow our LinkedIn page, and like our Facebook page!   

We’re raring to have you join us in exploring the constantly-moving intersection of law and technology. Remember to check back on our site regularly to ensure that you get the latest coverage, updates and news about TechLaw.Fest 2019!

The LawTech.Asia Team

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