Harry Surden, law professor and director of the Silicon Flatirons Center’s Artificial Intelligence Initiative, delivered the 47th annual Austin W. Scott, Jr. Lecture at the University of Colorado Law School on November 10. The lecture was entitled “Artificial Intelligence and Law”. . The Scott Lecture is delivered annually by a faculty member involved in a significant scholarly project selected by the Dean.
Watch the recording here.
In this talk, presented in a hybrid format, Professor Surden – himself a former software engineer and leader of the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of AI and law – examined: what is artificial intelligence? How does the right to artificial intelligence affect it? What are the big issues affecting AI, law and society today and in the near future?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is in the news a lot these days. Professor Surden explained that AI as a concept might seem completely separate from the legal field, but AI and law are closely intertwined and becoming more so every day. The law regulates artificial intelligence, but artificial intelligence also influences legal practice.
Professor Surden devoted a good part of the presentation to explaining in broad terms how AI actually works, what it is and what it is not. His remarks emphasized that in order to understand the intersection of AI and law, we must try to understand the technology itself. Surden explored the limitations of AI as it exists today and how it differs from the way popular culture often portrays it.
Ultimately, AI is neither inherently good nor bad for the law, explained Professor Surden. It holds the potential for a fairer legal system or, if misused, one that is less fair and more prone to prejudice.
About Professor Harry Surden
Harry Surden is a law professor at the University of Colorado Law School. He joined the faculty in 2008. His fellowship focuses on artificial intelligence and law, legal informatics and legal automation (including machine learning and law), self-driving cars and law, intellectual property law with a content focus on patents and copyright, privacy law, and the application of computing technology within the legal system.
Before joining CU, Professor Surden was a resident fellow at the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics (CodeX) at Stanford Law School. In this capacity, Professor Surden conducted interdisciplinary research with collaborators from the Stanford School of Engineering to examine the application of computer technology to improve the legal system. He was also a member of the Stanford Intellectual Property Litigation Clearinghouse and director of the Computer Science and Law Initiative.
Professor Surden was clerk to the Honorable Martin J. Jenkins for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. He received his law degree from Stanford Law School with honors and received the Stanford Law Intellectual Property Writing Award.
Prior to law school, Professor Surden worked as a software engineer for Cisco Systems and Bloomberg Finance LP. He received his bachelor’s degree with honors from Cornell University.
Professor Surden is an affiliate faculty member at the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics (CodeX).
About Austin W. Scott, Jr.’s Annual Lecture Series
Austin W. Scott Jr.’s lecture is named after Austin Scott, who was a 20-year law school associate. He was both a popular teacher and a prolific writer whose scholarly work was in the fields of criminal law and criminal procedure. In 1973, former Colorado Dean of Law Don W. Sears established the lecture series in his memory. Each year, the Dean of the Law School selects a faculty member involved in a significant scientific project to present his or her research. Learn more about the Austin W. Scott Jr. Lecture.
Watch recordings of recent lectures on the Colorado Law YouTube channel.