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TechLaw.Fest 2020 Quick Chats: Dr Ian Walden, Professor of Information and Communications Law at Queen Mary University of London; Director of Centre for Commercial Law Studies

Reading time: 8 minutes

Interview by Josh Lee, Lenon Ong and Elizaveta Shesterneva | Edited by Josh Lee

TechLaw.Fest 2020 (“TLF”) will take place online from 28 September – 2 October 2020, becoming the virtual focal point for leading thinkers, leaders and pioneers in law and technology. In the weeks leading up to TLF, the LawTech.Asia team will be bringing you regular interviews and shout-outs covering some of TLF’s most prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking about.

This week, LawTech.Asia received the exclusive opportunity to interview Dr Ian Walden, Professor of Information and Communications Law and Queen Mary University of London and the Director of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies. Ian will be speaking at a panel on “Global Perspectives on Tackling AI Governance” on the second day of TLF (29 September 2020).

LawTech.Asia: Media Partner for TechLaw.Fest 2020!

Reading time: 2 minutes

We are proud to be recognised by the Singapore Academy of Law as an official media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2020!

TechLaw.Fest 2020 (held from 28 September to 2 October 2020) is a signature convention in Singapore that will be the focal point for leading thinkers, leaders and pioneers in law and technology.

Libra: Highlighting Regulatory Challenges for the Future of Cryptocurrencies

Reading time: 14 minutes

Written by Jaye Tan (Associate Author) | Mentored by Ong Chin Ngee | Reviewed by Ian Lee

LawTech.Asia is proud to conclude the second run of its Associate Author (Winter 2019) Programme. The aim of the Associate Authorship Programme is 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.

As part of a partnership with the National University of Singapore’s alt+law and Singapore Management University’s Legal Innovation and Technology Club, five students were selected as Associate Authors. This piece by Jaye Tan, reviewed by industry reviewer Ian Lee (Lead Investigator, Merkle Science), marks the second thought piece in this series, and examines the regulatory challenges of cryptocurrencies.

Abstract

In June 2019, Facebook announced that they were launching their own cryptocurrency Libra Coin under the Libra Association. Already facing governmental scrutiny over privacy issues over the social network, the announcement exacerbated intense attention from not only United States lawmakers and politicians, but the general public. On 23 October 2019, Mark Zuckerberg was subject to over six hours of questioning – elucidating the key concerns lawmakers have with regard to the regulation of cryptocurrencies. These regulatory challenges are not unique to the US, but apply worldwide to regulatory authorities dealing with the budding technology. With the legislation of the Payment Services Act, Singapore has set a regulatory framework which may be the leading framework for countries to adopt going forward.

TechLaw.Fest 2019 – Charting the Course of Disruption in Law and Technology

Reading time: 9 minutes

By Lenon Ong, Sanjana Ayagari, Elizaveta Shesterneva | Edited by Josh Lee

As part of our strategic media partnership with the Singapore Academy of Law, LawTech.Asia once again has the privilege of being appointed as media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2020. As the programme line-up for TechLaw.Fest 2020 begins to take shape, LawTech.Asia brings our readers back to TechLaw.Fest 2019 to provide a timely recap on all that happened, as we look forward to what is shaping up to be a momentous and memorable TechLaw.Fest 2020.

In its second year in this form as a large-scale conference, TechLaw.Fest 2019 was held on 5 and 6 September 2019, and saw over 1,500 legal professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs and regulators converge to engage in critical conversations about the future of technology law and of the legal industry. 

Given the numerous conferences, exhibitions, pitches, launches and meetings all happening over 48 hours of adrenaline and excitement, this article aims to share some of the key themes and memorable moments that emerged across both days of Singapore’s (and arguably Asia’s) signature law and technology conference.

The entrance to TechLaw.Fest, just before the start of an adrenaline-fuelled two days.

What should the post lock-down legal industry look like?

Reading time: 5 minutes

Written by Josh Lee | Edited by Jennifer Lim

Much ink has been spilt about how COVID-19 has changed and disrupted the legal industry. A search on Google turns up numerous articles on how COVID-19 has done overnight what no law or policy could: forced lawyers to adopt a fully-digital mode of doing businesschanging court practices (to the extent that even being called to the Bar is now a digital occasion), and forced law schools to turn to AI invigilators to deter cheating in stay-home exams. Perhaps the clearest sign of the times is to hear practicing lawyers confide that for once, they get to spend more than 7 hours of their day at home.

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. 

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

Reading time: 13 minutes

Written by Louis Lau (Associate Author) | Mentored by Josh Lee | Reviewed by Lim How Khang

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.

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.

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

Reading time: 2 minutes

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

The World Legal Summit: Informing and Taking Action – Physically and Virtually

Reading time: 5 minutes

Written by Josh Lee and Aileen Schultz (Founder, World Legal Summit)

The World Legal Summit (WLS) is a 30+ city, 20+ country initiative designed to bridge the gap between legislative understanding and emerging technologies. Part One will occur in physical locations simultaneously across a 24 hour window on August 1, while Part Two will occur between September 6  to 8. The WLS will also provide global networking and remote participation opportunities in a virtual world. 

Introduction

Technology and global systems are evolving at unprecedented rates, with humanity now poised at the tip of the exponential curve of technological evolution. There is, however, a lack of incentives to create required legislative and regulatory frameworks for the proper governance and responsible use of such technologies. Further, legal advances in technology governance – typically developed in silos – are not keeping pace with the development of technology. In turn, this creates a governance and trust deficit between emerging technologies, their associated global systems, and the necessary frameworks for a globally sustainable future.

While the legal industry has seen global initiatives to drive technology in legal practice (such as through global events such as the Global Legal Hackathon), the World Legal Summit (“WLS”) tackles the converse challenge of legal and regulatory issues relating to new technology. It is primarily focused on emerging technologies that are global in nature and that are facing complex regulatory challenges. In its inaugural year, the WLS will be focusing on the following three technology categories: 

  • Identity and Personal Governance;
  • Autonomous Machines; and
  • Cyber Security and Personal Data.

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