Law of Emerging Technologies

Law 539






The lawyer-leader of tomorrow must understand how to approach emerging technologies. For example, blockchains present manifold challenges and opportunities, including unprecedented potential to disrupt financial systems, to support civic participation and democratize access to resources, and even to change what we understand “law” to be.

Likewise, already robotic and AI tools are helping to care for our elders, to nurture our children, to influence the sentencing of our convicted, to predict the creditworthiness of our consumers, and to carry people across roads, rails, and skies with increasingly limited human involvement. Instead of human decision-makers who stand ready to answer for their reasoning, AI tools often remain opaque, uninterpretable, and at times unaccountable.

Are we ready? Probably not. Surely our legal systems and ethical frameworks must evolve. We must ensure that lawyers and policymakers speak the language of tech and that technologists help to shape law and policy. As these sets of technologies rapidly emerge, we must consider the extent to which we allow regulation and government intervention, balancing the maintenance of social norms against the desire to let nascent technologies innovate and evolve. This course aims to help each of us become active participants in these endeavors.

This course will be an important contribution to our developing curriculum on new technology and entrepreneurship. The course will complement existing courses in cyberlaw, cybersecurity, privacy law, media law, intellectual property, banking law, national security law, and any other class engaging with the challenging legal issues new technologies pose. In addition, elements of this class will overlap with (or at least complement) Professional Responsibility.


J. Ward (Adjunct)

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility

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