Multidisciplinary Legal Tech Con 2018 explores the link between AI and law

Artificial Intelligence and law — is there a link? While AI has been subject to research since the 1950’s, recent advancements have played a key role in bringing AI from science fiction to reality. It is also noteworthy that research in the intersection of artificial intelligence and law is not a novel phenomenon either.

While artificial intelligence has been subject to research for decades, the applications of AI technologies develop at a breakneck speed. Even if we don’t quite understand its implications, AI plays a subtle, if often invisible, role in our daily lives. As the adoption of AI technologies starts to have an impact on both us as citizens and consumers, as well as on the fundamental aspects of the society, we might ask ourselves: What kind of challenges are we facing with algorithmic decision-making? Lawyers and law students alike might be particularly interested in the future of their profession: How can the legal sector survive — if you’ll pardon the pun — the “AI-pocalypse”?

The University of Helsinki Legal Tech Lab is going to tackle these questions in Legal Tech Con, an international conference organised in Helsinki on 8 June 2018. Legal Tech Con 2018 brings together researchers from different fields, legal practitioners as well as students to explore the impact the increasing use of AI has on law. The event focuses on various legal, ethical and practical implications of different AI and data-driven technologies. The multidisciplinary conference facilitates discussion between speakers from various backgrounds. These include experience ranging from legal education to computer science, not to mention Professor Timo Honkela, an all-star whose scientific discipline is difficult to define given his vast experience. The conference will also host several international speakers including Keynote Speakers Dory Reiling (Senior Judge, Amsterdam District Court) and Adam Greenfield (London-based writer and urbanist). You can read more about the Speakers here.


Pitch your Research!

As a novel element in this year’s conference, the Lab has invited a number of legal researchers to pitch their current research projects before the audience. The researchers only have five minutes to present their work — a tough task to anyone! — and it will be fascinating to hear how they will choose to summarise their projects. Academic research on legal tech can sometimes be rather complicated. The idea behind this type of Science Pitches is to make the valuable work of the researchers more easily approachable for practitioners and other stakeholders in the spirit of open science. The science pitches will showcase the multifaceted legal research currently done on AI-related themes.


“The conference approaches AI and Law with as broad perspective as possible”

The conference provides an overview of different socio-legal discussions on AI and produces critical insights into the future uses of machine learning. When talking about AI, it is certainly useful to understand some computational basics of the technology. We are delighted to hear a talk on the data science perspective by Indrė Žliobaitė, who currently acts as Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki.

AI also affects us as consumers: algorithms play a role in what ads we see, which products we are offered, and even the prices we pay. Burkhard Schafer, Professor of Computational Legal Theory in Edinburgh Law School, will focus on consumer protection in algorithmic markets.

A crucial angle is also the future of legal profession: how are digital technologies changing legal work and how should legal education respond? A larger panel discussion consisting of legal practitioners and members of the academia will try to answer the question: What is required of the legal professionals of tomorrow? The conversation will not only be limited to the Finnish perspective, but we may also hear experiences from Germany, represented by Dirk Hartung who is the Executive Director of Legal Technology in Bucerius Law School.

Finally, there is the increasingly topical, fundamental question of ethics and access to justice. Justice by design can help to establish a fair and just online environment. The Lab’s very own Director Riikka Koulu will debate about values and ethics in AI development together with Professor Timo Honkela, who is well known for his acclaimed book Peace Machine (2017), where Honkela examines how technology can serve humanity.


Welcome Students!

Similarly to last year, the conference welcomes three students to present their work on the topic of the conference. We are delighted to invite the following students on stage:

Paula Pirinen, University of Helsinki

“Modern Robin Hood or a Public Enemy? Data Breaches in the Light of Hacker Ethic and Criminal Law”

Sanna Luoma, University of Helsinki

“Artificial Intelligence Improving the Delivery of Justice and How Courts Operate”

Atte Kuismin, University of Helsinki

“Black Box AI — The Problems with Sufficient Disclosure and Clarity of Claims”


Read more about the programme and get your tickets here.

Looking forward to see many of you in Legal Tech Con 2018!

Anna-Maria Svinhufvud is a student volunteer at the Legal Tech Lab finalising her LL.M. in the University of Helsinki. She is particularly curious about cryptocurrencies.