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Curtis E.A. Karnow
Vanessa Mak, Eric Tjong Tjin Tai and Anna Berlee
This book deals with one of the most important scientific developments of recent years, namely the exponential growth of data science. More than a savvy term that rings of robotics, artificial intelligence and other terms that for long were regarded as part of science-fiction, data science has started to become structurally embedded in scientific research. Data, meaning personal data as well as information in the form of digital files, has become available at such a large scale that it can lead to an expansion of knowledge through smart combinations and use of data facilitated by new technologies. This book examines the legal implications of this development. Do data-driven technologies require regulation, and vice versa, how does data science advance legal scholarship? Defining the relatively new field of data science requires a working definition of the term. By data science we mean the use of data (including data processing) for scientific research. The availability of massive amounts of data as well the relatively cheap availability of storage and processing power has provided scientists with new tools that allow research projects that until recently were extremely cumbersome if not downright impossible. These factors are also often described with the term ‘big data’, which is characterized by three Vs: volume, velocity and variety.The term data science is nonetheless broader, because it can also refer to the use of data sets that are large but still limited—and therefore, unlike big data, of a manageable size for processing.
Biotechnology significantly contributes to economic development as well as to the improvement of life quality. From an international and comparative perspective, biotechnological products and processes give rise to a broad range of regulatory issues which range from human rights to international trade law. Legal responses reflect intense scientific and ethical debates. Green biotechnology modernizes agricultural processes, increasing the quality of the products that reach consumers. Red biotechnology helps develop new vaccines and other pharmaceutical products. White biotechnology has transformed entire industries through the use of living organisms (e.g. bacterial enzymes or biomass) in industrial processes and energy production. Grey biotechnology fosters environmental protection and accelerates recovery of damaged ecosystems. Blue biotechnology improves the utilisation of marine resources.
Woodrow Barfield and Alexander Williams
Advances in virtual and augmented reality technology and in the software to produce virtual worlds have allowed virtual avatars to be used with increasing frequency for a range of activities. But with improvements in the technology to create virtual and augmented reality worlds have come corresponding issues of law and policy which apply to the avatars that represent the human presence in virtual worlds. This chapter discusses several issues of law which relate to the design and use of virtual avatars, with a specific focus on avatars that are gaining in intelligence and operating with more and more autonomy from humans. Virtual avatars are increasingly not simply entities under the control of real-world users, as with avatars found in many online virtual reality games, but rather are becoming more autonomous actors, generating their own decisions and solutions to problems which may not always be intelligible or transparent to the real-world users they represent. Additionally, it is the case that increasingly smart avatars operating with greater autonomy raise significant legal issues beyond those of “human-controlled” avatars, not the least of which is whether the avatars themselves deserve legal rights.