From Algorithms to Antitrust: Study an LL.M. in Technology Governance

Why You Should Consider a Legal Degree in Technology Governance

As digital platforms, artificial intelligence (AI) and social media continue to shape our economic and social fabric, the need for effective governance has become increasingly apparent. Enter LL.M. programs that focus on the intersection between law and technology, a critical focal point. 

These LL.M. programs in technology governance, aim to equip lawyers with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the challenges posed by the digital revolution. 

And the range of options for studying this fascinating area of law continues to expand, with the University of Amsterdam not long ago launching its Technology Governance (Advanced LL.M.) course, which focuses on the emerging European technology regulation framework. 

Other options exist around the world in different guises, such as the LL.M. Law and Technology Pathway at The Dickson Poon School of Law, at King’s College London. Once enrolled on the general LL.M. at King’s, students can choose modules to follow the Law and Technology pathway and achieve a specialist LL.M. degree in Law and Technology. 

“The rapid rise of innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence, the Ublockchain, cloud computing and big data, has been reshaping the global economy and the ways in which we work, play and interact,” says Dr Lerong Lu, Senior Lecturer in Law at King’s College. 

“The advancement of science and technology has presented a series of legal and regulatory challenges for lawyers, including information privacy and data protection, the protection of intellectual property, consumer protection, financial stability for fintech ecosystems, and green energy and environmental legal issues,” he adds. 

Specialized coursework in artificial intelligence 

One big focus area is AI, which holds tremendous promise in revolutionizing industries ranging from healthcare to finance. However, the deployment of AI also presents ethical dilemmas, including bias in algorithms, job displacement, and autonomous decision-making. 

LL.M. programs in technology governance offer specialized coursework in AI law, examining issues such as algorithmic accountability, data protection, and liability for AI-driven outcomes. Graduates emerge with a nuanced understanding of how legal principles can be applied to mitigate risks and ensure that AI systems operate in accordance with ethical norms and societal values.

“We have seen the rapid rise of technological innovations that move faster than regulation,” says Matthew D’Amore, a Professor of Practice at Cornell Tech and in the Law School at Cornell University. “We are continuing to grapple with the emergence of AI technologies like facial recognition and ChatGPT. And we’ve watched the rise and fall of cryptocurrency companies and valuations before any serious regulatory effort emerged in the U.S.

“In all of these areas we look to existing law for guidance while envisioning what new laws, regulations and governing bodies we might need over the longer term,” adds D’Amore. 

The LL.M. course at Cornell Tech focuses on helping students not just learn the legal regimes that relate to emerging technologies, but also the practice of law in this field. “So we teach not just Intellectual Property and Internet Law, but Technology Transactions in which students learn how to move companies forward, monetize ideas and mitigate risks within our legal framework,” D’Amore says. 

Examining the influence of digital platforms

Another major area of study for students on these LL.M. programs in technology governance is digital platforms such as Facebook, Google and Amazon. They wield significant influence over global markets and public discourse. However, their immense power has raised concerns regarding data privacy, antitrust issues, and the spread of misinformation. 

LL.M. programs in technology governance and related fields such as intellectual property delve into the legal frameworks surrounding these platforms, exploring topics such as competition law and patents. By understanding the regulatory landscape, graduates are better equipped to advocate for policies that promote fairness, transparency, and accountability in the digital sphere – all highly marketable stores of knowledge. 

“The demand for lawyers with strong skills and knowledge in both intellectual property and information law is increasing. This increase is due to the increasing importance of all types of technology in our daily lives, but in particular information technology,” says University of Houston Law Center Associate Dean and Professor Greg Vetter. 

Houston Law Center offers the Intellectual Property and Information Law LL.M. Program. Within this field and broader technology governance, Vetter adds that “there are many lucrative practice alternatives, from patent law with its emphasis on engineering and a STEM background, to new areas such as privacy and data protection, which are expanding with the growth of information devices and the Internet of Things”. 

As technology continues to reshape the business world, the importance of effective governance cannot be overstated. LL.M. programs in this niche seem only likely to grow in popularity.


 

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