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William Samore

Artificial intelligence is vastly changing the way technology is designed and developed. For example, devices that were once designed by humans are now being designed by machines. Among others, the chapter addresses the following topic and questions—what impact, if any, should this have on the patent system? And should a device designed by a machine be patentable? The role of patent law with AI entities is the major focus of the chapter.

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Stacy-Ann Elvy

The rise of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IOT) has significant contracting implications for consumers. The IOT has been described as a network of connected Internet-enabled devices. These devices will frequently rely on artificial intelligence.  Artificial intelligence in autonomous systems can further enable the interpretation of data generated from consumers’ use of Internet-enabled devices as well as make decisions and take appropriate action based on this data.  In the near future, artificially intelligent IOT devices will replace conventional objects in a consumer’s home, including thermostats, refrigerators and televisions. As IOT devices that utilize artificial intelligence become smarter and more autonomous, several established areas of law will be challenged. This chapter explores the various contracting and agency issues raised by consumers’ use of such devices, including “Contract Distancing” and the impact of standard form contract terms, such as unilateral amendment provisions.

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Dorothée Baumann-Pauly and Sarah Margaretha Jastram

In this chapter, we discuss the challenges and opportunities of human-rights-based impact investment in the fashion industry. We first outline the structure of the fashion supply chain and describe typical human rights issues at different stages of the production process. Next, we critically discuss selected current approaches to human rights benchmarking and ranking. We argue that the focus of current assessment frameworks on process-based indicators is insufficient for a proper risk assessment. Furthermore, we define core characteristics of better methods, indicators and metrics for the assessment of the human rights performance of companies, which would enable investors to reward true human rights leaders in the fashion industry. This chapter is relevant to scholars in the field of business and human rights as well as to impact investors, agenda-setters and political actors.

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Xavier Oberson

Chapter 5 focuses on administrative assistance in the collection of tax claims. While a specific provision of the OECD Model, Art. 27, introduces rules that contracting states may wish to implement in their treaties, this provision so far has not been as successful as Art. 26 of the same Model. Perhaps the movement of ratification of the Council of Europe/OECD multilateral convention on administrative assistance in tax matters, which entails a provision on assistance in the recovery of tax receipts (Art. 11), will contribute to the development of such type of assistance.

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Antonio Morelli

Article 43 of the ECT leaves undefined the concept of association agreement, leaving it to the will of parties, under the umbrella of the Charter Conference, with States, Regional Economic Integration Organizations, or international organizations. The author analyses association agreements in the EU context, in order to shed light on forms of participation different than membership tout court.

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Marc Jonathan Blitz

Free speech protection is not absolute. Even as it protects individuals’ rights to speak to each other in public spaces, it leaves government with room to assure these public spaces are suitable for shared activities: It lets officials regulate, for example, to assure the free flow of traffic or protect against “visual blight.” Virtual and augmented reality have the potential to alter this aspect of free speech law by enabling individuals to “privatize” public space:  Signs, art work, or other expression that may have once been forced on unwilling audiences might now instead emerge only in the custom-designed VR or AR world of a willing viewer. This chapter looks more closely at this First Amendment implications of VR and AR, and also at the reasons that some VR or AR images and words may still be subject to government regulation, either because they do not count as First Amendment “speech” or because they count as speech which government has power to regulate.

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Leonardo Borlini and Marina Petri

This chapter is a synthetic commentary to Article 50 of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) comprising two sections, respectively covering its purpose and its content. The mentioned Article spells out which the authentic languages of the Treaty are. Accordingly, this commentary focuses on the interpretative implications of multi-lingual Treaties, in line with the relevant provisions included in the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of the Treaties, thus framing Article 50 within the broader international law context in an evolutionary perspective.

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Xavier Oberson

Chapter 12 focuses on the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), which has been published by the OECD on July 2014 and represents the global standard of due diligence for the automatic exchange of information of financial accounts. The various conditions of the CRS implementation, as well as the definition of the essentials actors, such as the reporting financial intermediaries, are described as well as some already emerging issues.

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Antje von Ungern-Sternberg

Autonomous cars are among the most fascinating and visible examples of how artificial intelligence will change our daily life. Very soon, autonomous cars will be able to drive safely on public roads without control of a human driver. The technology—allowing the car’s computer system to collect data from sensors, to interact with other vehicles, to analyze data and to control the vehicle’s function—has already been developed but it is unclear how fast the new technology will spread. One can reasonably expect that autonomous cars will greatly enhance road traffic safety, mobility and convenience. But autonomous driving might also have negative consequences. It is very likely, for example, that human driving will be outlawed altogether at some point in order to eliminate the risk caused by the human factor. Turning to legal aspects, road traffic law is a very densely regulated area of law which protects important goods like road safety and traffic fluidity. Traditionally, it is the human driver who must follow the rules of road traffic law. In an autonomous car, it is no longer a human, but an algorithm, i.e. a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem used by a computer, which governs the car’s behavior. Shifting decision-making from a human being to an artificial agent such as a self-driving car raises several legal questions. Does the law permit artificial decision-making—or does it require human operators, at least in certain areas of law? How can artificial agents comply with legal norms such as road traffic regulations? And finally, what should self-driving cars do if they cannot avoid an accident and face tragic choices?  This chapter addresses these legal challenges posed by artificial decision-making. The legal questions are considered in an abstract manner, but with a view to German, U.S. and public international law, particularly human rights law. After clarifying the relevant terms, the chapter looks at the legal framework of artificial decision-making, in general, and the legal problem of tragic choices, in particular.

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Autonomous Vehicles and the Law

Technology, Algorithms and Ethics

Hannah Y. Lim

Autonomous vehicles have attracted a great deal of attention in the media, however there are some inconsistencies between the perception of autonomous vehicles’ capabilities and their actual functions. This book provides an accessible explanation of how autonomous vehicles function, suggesting appropriate regulatory responses to the existing and emerging technology.