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Christopher Markou

Christopher Markou

PhD Candidate, Lecturer, Faculty of Law | Associate Fellow, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge

Education

The University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law, PhD
The University of Manchester, School of Law, LLB (1st)
The University of Toronto, St, Michael's College, MA (Honours)
The University of Toronto, St, Michael's College, BA (Honours)

Awards

Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship, 2014-2018
Programme in European Private Law, Postgradute Scholarship, 2016-2017
Wright Rogers Scholarship, The University of Cambridge, 2014-2018
Faculty of Law Bursary, The University of Cambridge, 2014-2018

Professional Associations & Memberships

The Law Society of Upper Canada
The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
National Union of Journalists

Fields of research

Technology Law
Critical Techology Studies
Artificial Intelligence
Social Systems Theory
Complexity Theory
Philosophy of Technology
Science and Technology Studies
Evolutuionary Economics
Legal Autonomy and Technological Change: A Systems Theoretical Analysis of Artificial Intelligence

Summary

The machines rise, mankind falls. It’s a science fiction trope nearly as old as machines themselves. The dystopian scenarios spun around this theme can make for compelling entertainment but it’s difficult to see them as serious threats. Nonetheless, artificially intelligent systems continue developing apace. Self-driving cars share our roads; smartphones manage our lives; facial recognition systems help catch bad guys and sophisticated algorithms dethrone our Jeopardy and Go champions. Developing these technologies could obviously benefit humanity. But, then—don’t most dystopian sci-fi stories start out this way?

My thesis addresses the question of whether, and if so, to what extent, the legal system can respond to risks and challenges posed by increasingly complex and legally problematic technological change. It draws on theories of legal and social evolution—particularly the Social Systems Theory of Niklas Luhmann—to explore the notion of a ‘lag’ in the ability of the legal system to respond to technological change and ‘shocks’. It evaluates the claim that the legal system’s lagged response to technological change is necessarily a deficit of its functioning, and hypothesises that it is instead an essential characteristic of the legal system’s autonomy, and of the processes through which the law ameliorates the potentially harmful or undesirable outcomes of science and technology on society and the individual.

It is clear that the legal system can respond to technological change, but only insofar as it can adjust its internal mode of operation, which takes time, and is constrained by the need to maintain legal autonomy. The visible signs of this adjustment take the form, among other things, of conceptual evolution in the face of new technological changes and risks. This process is observable in many historical precedents that are examined to demonstrate the adaptive capacity of the legal system in response to technological change. While it is true that legal systems are comparatively inflexible in response to new technologies, due to the rigidity of legal doctrine and reliance upon precedent and analogy in legal reasoning, an alternative outcome is possible; namely the disintegration of the boundary between law and technology and the consequential loss of legal autonomy. A change of this kind would be signalled by what some have identified as the emergence of a technological ordering—or a ‘rule of technology’—that displaces and potentially subsumes the rule of law.

My thesis evaluates evidence for these two scenarios—the self-renewing capacity of the legal system, on the one hand, or its disintegration in response to technological change, on the other. These opposing scenarios will be evaluated using Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a case study to examine the co-evolutionary dynamics of law and technology and to assess the extent to which the legal system can shape, and be shaped by, technological change. It explores the nature of the AI, its benefits and drawbacks, and argues that its proliferation may require a corresponding shift in how the law operates. As AI develops, centralised authorities such as government agencies, corporations, and indeed legal systems, may lose the ability to coordinate and regulate the activities of disparate persons through existing regulatory means. Consequentially, there is a pressing need to understand how AI technology interfaces with existing legal frameworks and how the law must adapt in response to the creation of decentralised organisations that has yet to be explored by current legal theory.

Supervisors

Professor Simon Deakin (Peterhouse)

Professor Ross Anderson (Trinity)

Why using AI to sentence criminals is a dangerous idea

May 16, 2017 14:03 pm UTC| Insights & Views Law Technology

Artificial intelligence is already helping determine your future whether its your Netflix viewing preferences, your suitability for a mortgage or your compatibility with a prospective employer. But can we agree, at least...

We could soon face a robot crimewave ... the law needs to be ready

Apr 11, 2017 13:41 pm UTC| Technology Law

This is where we are at in 2017: sophisticated algorithms are both predicting and helping to solve crimes committed by humans; predicting the outcome of court cases and human rights trials; and helping to do the work done...

1 

Economy

U.S. Treasuries jump ahead of FOMC members’ speeches, September manufacturing PMI

The U.S. Treasuries jumped Friday as investors await the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members George and Kaplans speech, scheduled to be held today by 13:30GMT and 17:30GMT respectively. The yield on the...

German PMI surges to 6-1/2 year high as manufacturing booms

Germanys private sector economy ended the third quarter strongly, with business activity growth accelerating to the fastest in almost six-and-a-half years, according to flash PMI survey data from IHS Markit. Improved...

RBNZ unlikely to alter monetary policy stance next week, due to election uncertainty: Westpac Research

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is expected not to alter its monetary policy stance at its meeting next week, owing to election-related uncertainties. The RBNZ has run a very consistent line on monetary policy over...

USD/INR likely to trade towards 65 level with support at 64, says Scotiabank

The USD/INR currency pair is expected to trade towards the 65 level with the 64 support, but the pair will be buffered against a sharp and persistent depreciation given the nations large foreign reserves that rose to a...

JGBs gain tracking following U.S. Treasuries after North Korea threatens hydrogen bomb attack

The Japanese government bonds gained tracking similar momentum in the U.S. counterpart after North Korean leader Kin-Jong-Un said that the North would consider the highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history...

Politics

Undocumented youth divided over how to fight back against Trump immigration clampdown

Young immigrants from across the US participated in the first act of civil disobedience by undocumented youth under the Trump administration on July 26 in Texas. After protesters sat in the street outside the state capitol...

India at 70: after the celebrations, single-party dominance menaces democracy

Seventy years ago, Jawaharlal Nehrus famous Tryst with Destiny speech not only marked Indias independence from British rule but also expressed the vision for a united, democratic, egalitarian and modern country. Not...

Can corporate America afford to walk away from President Trump?

After campaigning as the candidate best able to work with business, President Donald Trump has shown he is anything but. A stream of resignations from high-level business counsels hit a crescendo recently when Trump was...

Little prospect of regime change in Russia short of a popular uprising – and that's unlikely

Vladimir Putins power in Russia can often look unassailable. However much Western media might champion potential opponents, the president maintains a tight grip, and its easy to see why. Any successor to Putin who was not...

Warning signs of mass violence – in the US?

There are those who say that comparing President Donald Trumps rhetoric to that of Adolf Hitler is alarmist, unfair and counterproductive. And yet, there has been no dearth of such comparisons since the 2016...

Science

Scientists Create Robots The Size Of DNA Strands That Can Rearrange Molecules

Robots are great for a lot of things and can perform functions that humans would either have a hard time accomplishing or simply would not be able to do. Among the latter case is rearranging the molecules of a living...

China Signs Deal With Israel Over Lab-Grown Meat, Food For The Future

With the world facing the global crisis known as climate change, most countries are doing whatever they can to reduce carbon emissions. However, one of the biggest contributing factors to greenhouse gasses that is rarely...

How diseases can be targeted using nanotechnology – and why it's difficult

Scientists are designing materials that are a thousand times smaller than the width of a hair. Known as nanomaterials or nanoparticles, some could help treat diseases. However, the engineering of particles for...

Denmark Finally Sells Last Oil Company For $7.45 Billion

As a country committed to fighting climate change and reducing its carbon footprint, Denmark is finally selling off the last remaining oil company in the country. The oil firms were owned by A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S and the...

Trump’s Pick For NASA Head Is Not A Scientist And A Prominent Climate Change Denier

The Trump administration has proven to be incompetent in filling crucial roles with qualified people, evidenced by an anti-EPA EPA head and an anti-DOE head of DOE. Now, the president has nominated a non-scientist who is...

Technology

Amazon Planning To Sell Smart Glasses And Smart Security Camera

Amazon is currently dominating the smart assistant market with Alexa and its Echo speakers, but the online merchant giant is planning to extend its list of products to include smart glasses and smart security cameras....

Developer Calls EA ‘Corporate Monsters’ For Allegedly Trying To Destroy His Studio

Slightly Mad Studios is the company behind some truly amazing racing titles in the video game industry, including Need For Speed: Shift. The CEO of the studio Ian Bell recently had a candid conversation with YouTuber...

Resident Evil 7 Chris Redfield Revealed In New Trailer

The upcoming free downloadable content for Capcoms Resident Evil 7 game is only a few months away, and the publisher released a new trailer featuring franchise icon Chris Redfield. Since the first Resident Evil game, the...

Wall St. Hack Cause Havoc Among Lawmakers And Investors

Being the victim of a hack is never a good thing, but when the target is a top US regulator overseeing trading at Wall St., the situation becomes catastrophically more consequential. This is exactly what the U.S....

Really Big Original Xbox Controller Available For Xbox One

Gamers who have used or owned the original Xbox will remember the big, bulky Duke controller that made playing games either fun or way too much of a hassle. This peripheral is being brought back and is compatible with the...
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2017-09-22 21:05:48
0m

September 22 14:30 UTC Released

USECRI Weekly Annualized*

Actual

0.0 %

Forecast

Previous

0.3 %

September 22 14:30 UTC Released

USECRI Weekly Index*

Actual

143.4 %

Forecast

Previous

143.3 %

September 25 00:30 UTC 25642564m

JPNikkei Mfg PMI

Actual

Forecast

Previous

52.2 bln $

September 25 08:00 UTC 30143014m

DEIfo Business Climate*

Actual

Forecast

116.0 %

Previous

115.9 %

September 25 08:00 UTC 30143014m

DEIfo Current Conditions*

Actual

Forecast

124.8 %

Previous

124.6 %

September 25 08:00 UTC 30143014m

DEIfo Expectations*

Actual

Forecast

107.9 %

Previous

107.9 %

September 25 11:30 UTC 32243224m

TRCapacity Utilisation*

Actual

Forecast

Previous

78.8 %

September 25 11:30 UTC 32243224m

TRManufacturing Confidence*

Actual

Forecast

Previous

110.7 %

September 25 12:30 UTC 32843284m

USNational Activity Index*

Actual

Forecast

Previous

-0.01 %

September 25 13:00 UTC 33143314m

MXIGAE Econ Activity YY

Actual

Forecast

Previous

2.4 %

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