LAWS367-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Special Topic: AI Regulation

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


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.

This course aims to equip students with the necessary skills to successfully transition into the impending AI age and make the incredibly tough choices around the regulation, development, and societal adoption of the bundle of technologies referred to as AI. These are choices that we all will have to make both as individuals in our professional and private lives and as a society to ensure that AI is beneficial for humanity. The course will be divided in three parts.
The first, technical part will introduce the concept of AI and the necessary mathematical/technical foundations to understand how AI technologies work in an easily understandable format, requiring no prior mathematical or computer science knowledge. Familiarity with these foundations is the single most important prerequisite for making informed decisions related to AI, be it in the realm of regulation/policymaking, business decisions, or determining our attitude towards using
AI technologies in our everyday lives. Upon successful completion of this course,
you will be among the few highly sought-after legal professionals that have the necessary technical knowledge to develop laws, policies, and strategies on AI’s societal adoption.
The second part of the course will focus on key policy concerns and regulatory considerations related to AI and technological innovation more generally. It will start by reviewing the economic impacts and challenges associated with previous waves of technological innovations and establish the properties of a regulatory/policy stance that is conducive to the safe adoption of new technologies. We will then examine the current spectrum of policy discussions and concerns around AI. In line with international best practices, this thematic unit will also include (science-fiction-based) case studies to spark thought-provoking, interactive (group) discussions linked to real-world problems stemming from AI. Based on these technical and policy insights, the third part of the course will familiarize students with the intricacies of regulatory theory and AI regulation and governance in particular. This is a genuinely interdisciplinary subject at the intersection of economics and law, among others, which highlights the multitude of considerations necessary for effective regulatory intervention in any issue area (i.e., everything we need to consider before actually starting to design specific laws). Selected specific topics—such as privacy, intellectual property rights, healthcare, the criminal justice system, legal liability, and inequality, to name a few—will be addressed through a dedicated (guest) lecture and written and oral assessments. The latter will give you an opportunity to research a field of your interest and develop ideas on how best to adapt the relevant domestic and/or international laws and regulations to accommodate AI technologies. AI-related policy challenges can only be successfully addressed through interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder, and international collaboration. This course gives you a blend of theoretical and practical training to prepare you to contribute: Aside from basic interdisciplinary knowledge and skills, it will also improve your research, writing, and public speaking skills, all of which will be essential in your future career—be it in the realm of core legal jobs, academia, industry, or public policy. The course will also be useful for a variety of other courses you may be interested to take during your studies, such as medical law, criminal law, and manyothers—AI is presenting legal problems in virtually all domains!

Learning Outcomes

  • On successful completion of this course, students will have:

  • A thorough understanding of the concept of AI (including basic technical foundations) allowing for realistic expectations about how AI technologies work;
  • An understanding of the current policy landscape and challenges related to AI R&D and the use societal adoption of AI technologies;
  • Valuable analytical and research skills enabling students to identify problems requiring regulatory/policy intervention and- applying AI, economic, ethical, legal, and political scientific concepts- perform independent, interdisciplinary research to contemplate solutions;
  • Sound skills in (academic) writing and presentation, and the capacity to work independently;
  • An aptitude to assume a career with diverse AI stakeholder (from academia, industry, the public sector, and civil society).


Timetable 2021

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 14:00 - 16:00 Beatrice Tinsley 112
22 Feb - 4 Apr
26 Apr - 6 Jun
Presentation A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 10:00 - 12:00 Ernest Rutherford 260
26 Apr - 2 May
02 Wednesday 12:00 - 14:00 Ernest Rutherford 260
26 Apr - 2 May
03 Thursday 10:00 - 12:00 Rehua 103 Project Workshop
26 Apr - 2 May
04 Thursday 12:00 - 14:00 Rehua 329
26 Apr - 2 May
05 Thursday 10:00 - 12:00 Ernest Rutherford 260
3 May - 9 May
06 Thursday 12:00 - 14:00 Ernest Rutherford 225
3 May - 9 May

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Olivia Erdelyi


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Group Presentations 05 May 2021 15%
Essay 17 May 2021 40%
In Class Test 27 May 2021 30%
Written Memorandum 03 Jun 2021 10%
Participation 5%

Given that it is impossible to cover the broad range of AI-related issues in a single course, a selection of topics most prominently featuring in current policy debates will be addressed through course assessment. Students will be required to prepare an academic paper. This is an independent, research intensive task that aims to ensure that they thoroughly work themselves into a topic otherwise not addressed in the course. It also trains their research and writing skills, which is useful both for academic and other career paths. Based on their paper, they then have to give a talk (this can be done either individually or in groups) to present their topic to their peers. The presentations are held in a small-group environment, which allows for thorough discussion, peer evaluation, and feedback. The presentation sessions are structured in a manner to encompass several topics to ensure maximum exposure to diverse problems. The third assessment is a multiple choice test, which assesses knowledge and understanding of fundamental concepts conveyed throughout the course.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $831.00

International fee $4,200.00

* 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

  • LAWS367-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021