AuthorDaniel SENG LLB (Singapore), BCL (Oxford), JSM (Stanford), JSD (Stanford); Advocate and Solicitor (Singapore); Director, Centre for Technology, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & the Law; Director, LLM Programme in IP and Technology Law; Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore.
Publication year2021
Citation(2021) 33 SAcLJ 10001
Published date01 December 2021
Date01 December 2021

1 When surveying the cusp of the Internet revolution in 1996, Justice Frank Easterbrook felt compelled to pen a paper entitled “Cyberspace and the Law of the Horse” at a conference on “The Law of Cyberspace”. His thesis is that any discussion about a “law of cyberspace” is bound to confuse because it is more profitable to discuss the myriad of issues that cyberspace would pose than to try to frame all the issues under an overarching rubric. In many respects, Justice Easterbrook is right. The so-called “law of cyberspace” did not really materialise in that the technology known as the Internet has become so pervasive and some would say, so insidious, that it is now an indistinguishable and integral part of our activities in this Fourth Industrial Revolution that we live in. But even the medium of the Internet as a communications platform and as a medium of exchange has been supplemented and occasionally overshadowed by other significant technological advancements, amongst which include large-scale data analytics, cryptography, machine learning, artificial intelligence (“AI”) and robotics.

2 It is therefore apt to describe and review all these areas of society that are impacted by technology as requiring the intercession of a suite of laws which can be broadly called “technology law”, the theme of this Special Issue. Even so, it is quite difficult to define exhaustively what one means by “technology law”, or even “law and technology”. Unlike past Special Issues which have dealt firmly with an existing, delineable field of law or practice, technology law means different things to different people. To some it means the “law of technology”: the law governing the use of various technological innovations. These laws may be specific to particular types of technological innovations, such as data protection laws, which were developed in response to the automated processing of personal data and concerns about the possible abuse of such uses of personal data. These laws may be more generic and represent the law's incipient response to technological innovations such as rules and guidelines relating to the use of cryptographic assets and AI. To others, technology law may also mean the “technology of law”: the incorporation of technological advances into the practice of law, and, as some may hope, in time, to support the soul and spirit of the law itself. Innovations such as these include electronic discovery, automated document assembly and self-service court...

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