LAWS367-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

Special Topic: AI Regulation

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


This course aims to give students a solid understanding of the concept of artificial intelligence, the existing spectrum of AI technologies, and ethical and legal questions related to their use.

In more or less perceptible forms, AI is becoming increasingly pervasive in modern societies. Some instantiations of AI receive massive media coverage – as is the case with self-driving vehicles or autonomous weapon systems – others creep into our lives much less conspicuously – like AI-enabled decision-making systems using predictive analytics in financial services, the justice system, and in the healthcare sector. While these powerful, transformative technologies have the potential to solve many problems humanity is currently grappling with, their use also presents fundamental ethical, legal, and social problems, forcing us to rethink our most basic beliefs and values. Whether AI turns out to be a blessing or a curse to humanity probably largely depends on how we decide to shape these technologies in their infancy. It is therefore paramount to understand their very essence, to reflect on many social, moral, economic, and legal questions in order to determine the ways in which we wish them to influence our lives, and to implement those ideas in the form of robust, safe, and responsible AI regulation and policies.

With that in mind, the proposed course will be divided in three parts: the first, technical part will introduce the concept of AI and give a short overview of the existing spectrum of rapidly growing AI technologies. In a second thematic unit, it will then familiarize students with prominent ethical, economic, and policy debates associated with AI. The third section of the course will take up specific legal topics (with a primary focus on NZ law) – such as privacy law, intellectual property law, medical law, or criminal law, to name just a few of many possible choices – and invite students to think about how these fields could best be adapted to accommodate AI technologies. Case studies will be used where appropriate.

Blending technical, moral, economic, and legal theory, this course will be of interest to students with a technical inclination, who wish to contribute to the genuinely innovative worldwide efforts to design appropriate policy frameworks around AI – be it in the realm of academia, industry, or public policy – want to deal with these newly emerging technologies within the remit of their own legal field – e.g., litigating intellectual property or medical malpractice cases with AI involvement – or simply just prefer to know their way around AI to better cope in their everyday lives.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students will have:
* An overall understanding of the concept of AI, various AI applications across different social, legal, and policy domains.
* An understanding of key current legal, ethical, and policy debates concerning AI research and development, as well as deployment of AI technologies.
* Acquired the capacity identify current and potential future legal loopholes related to the treatment of instantiations of AI and apply ethical and legal concepts and theories to propose solutions to eliminate such shortcomings.
* Developed valuable analytical and research skills drawing from AI, ethics, and law to perform independent research on the treatment of AI across virtually any legal domain given their familiarity with a wide spectrum of interdisciplinary sources, concepts, and methodologies.
* Developed a general awareness of the gravity of AI-related issues at stake, and a keen sense of how distinct disciplines, national and international organizations, and research and interest groups involved in AI research think and interact with each other (BiCC, kaupapa 1 and 2).
* Acquired the capacity to work independently and manage their time in order to meet course deadlines.

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Olivia Erdelyi


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Individual or Group Assignment 24 Apr 2020 50%
Group Presentations 15%
Final Exam 35%

Assessment will be confirmed within the first week of lectures.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $822.00

International fee $4,000.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Faculty of Law .

All LAWS367 Occurrences

  • LAWS367-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020