CLSI Joins the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium

The Center for Law, Science & Innovation (CLSI) at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is excited to announce that we will be joining the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium along with more than 75 organizations, universities, law firms, and businesses. CLSI will work with the consortium on developing standards and governance structures for the use of blockchain technology in the legal industry.

“The Center for Law, Science & Innovation has been advancing law and policy in science and emerging technology for over 30 years. This year we will offer one of the first courses on blockchain law in the country. We also lead and collaborate on important research projects and conversations with legislators, regulators, and blockchain entrepreneurs both here in Arizona and across the country,” said Gary Marchant, ASU Law professor and CLSI faculty director. “CLSI is excited to explore soft law approaches to regulate and foster the development of blockchain applications for the legal industry. Working with the consortium is a natural fit for us, and we are delighted to play a part in its formative stages.”

The consortium brings key stakeholders together to create standards for the development and implementation of blockchain technology for the legal industry with a focus on enhancing the security, privacy, productivity, and interoperability of the legal technology ecosystem.

Blockchain has the potential to become a foundational technology underlying international supply chains, personal identification systems, secure voting applications, revolutionized energy markets, secure sharing of health systems data, and the delivery of legal services. Blockchain may change the way lawyers do business and practice law in almost every area.

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Judge Kavanaugh and Public Health Policy

President Trump has nominated Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Of particular interest to Professor and Faculty Fellow James G. Hodge, Jr. is how Kavanaugh’s confirmation might affect public health policy in the future. To answer this question, Kavanaugh’s legal philosophy and past work as a judge are worth examining.

Professor Hodge, along with Center Scholars Drew Hensley and Walter G. Johnson, detail Kavanaugh’s views and prior decisions to analyze his potential effect on public health challenges.

Kavanaugh’s decisions and commentary on public health issues have not been extensive. But that history includes: long being a critic of the Affordable Care Act; ruling to delay abortion care for an undocumented minor in federal detention; and opposing class-action tort litigation purportedly in support of public health goals.

To understand more about Kavanaugh’s views on public health issues, read Hodge’s thorough guest column on Jurist.

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Bowman on the Genetically Modified Athletes of the Future

Faculty Fellow Diana Bowman recently gave a talk at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney on her new project – The potential impact of human embryonic gene editing on global sports: Preparing for 2036

Bowman and Faculty Fellow Andrew Maynard received funding from ASU’s Global Sports Initiative to study the future of gene editing in sports – sometimes called Gene Doping. Gene editing techniques, like CRISPR, could be used to produce athletes that are stronger, faster, and smarter than their peers. According to Bowman, whether we’ll see genetically modified athletes is not an “if” but a “when.” 

“We propose many governments will not only allow human germline editing for enhancement but will actively facilitate the use of the technology to gain an unprecedented advantage,” said Bowman to UNSW. The geo-political nature of sports likely assures the existence of gene doping programs in the future. The only question is what to do about them.

The talk was part of UNSW’s Grand Challenges program in partnership with the PLuS Alliance. Learn more about Bowman’s talk and project here.

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The Future of Employment in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Faculty Director Gary Marchant will today give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, followed by a three day Master Course, on the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and work. His talk – (When) Will a Robot Steal Your Job? – addresses concerns about AI in the workforce and what should be done about it.

Artificial intelligence and advanced robots are projected to replace humans in a growing number of jobs in the next few decades. In some ways, this is not something new. Technology has always changed how American’s work. “At one point, 50 or 60 percent of workers in America . . . were working in agriculture,” said Marchant, speaking with The Chautauquan Daily. “That went down to 2 percent.”

Historically, while technology changes how people work, it generally creates more jobs at the end of the day. Technology often opens up new and different employment areas. However, noted Marchant, not everyone believes that history will repeat itself. It’s possible that work taken by AI and robots won’t result in new jobs for humans.

Marchant’s lecture and the following course will discuss the economic, social, and personal implication of being replaced by AI. He will also cover some proposed solutions, including guaranteed basic income, a tax on robots, and innovations in education. Learn more here.

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Talking Regulation at Workshop on Molecular Diagnostics

This article was written by LSI Scholar Walter G. Johnson, class of 2020, who attended the 7th annual Workshop on Regulation and Reimbursement of Molecular Diagnostics.

The Center for Law, Science & Innovation (LSI) recently hosted its Workshop on Regulation and Reimbursement of Molecular Diagnostics. Speakers from various backgrounds shared insights on how current law and policy affect molecular diagnostics and precision medicine, both in the United States and Canada. The final session, however, examined a proposed major change in the regulation of molecular diagnostics. Professor Ralph Hall from the University of Michigan Law School gave the group an update on the Diagnostic Accuracy and Innovation Act (DAIA) and its progress in Congress.

The DAIA was proposed in March 2017 as a discussion draft by Reps. Larry Buschon (R-IN) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), building on a similar proposal from 2015. If enacted, the DAIA would clarify how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can regulate molecular diagnostics [and diagnostic tests broadly]. Currently, the FDA regulates test kits made by manufacturers and sold to labs, while CMS oversees tests that individual laboratories build and offer only in-house—so called laboratory developed tests (LDTs). But tensions have been rising over the past several decades, peaking with the FDA releasing draft guidance claiming authority over LDTs in 2014 and then retracting the move a week after the 2016 elections. The DAIA would resolve this by giving FDA oversight on the development of diagnostics and CMS control over performing the tests in the laboratory.

But Professor Hall highlighted that the policies behind the DAIA will not matter much if political forces prevent its enactment. The proposal has, thus far, been just uncontroversial enough to gain some traction with major industry stakeholders—consensus which was previously lacking. At the time Professor Hall presented, the next obstacle was anticipated technical assistance from FDA, which could either move the DAIA forward or place new barriers in its path to a congressional vote. Since the Workshop, the FDA technical assistance has now been issued and was somewhat positive (according to stakeholders), while recommending precertification programs and continuing to express some of the agency’s longstanding concerns. New reports of stakeholder resistance to the DAIA also surfaced after the FDA technical assistance, which could further complicate the proposal’s path in Congress.

Congress has a busy schedule of other health policy issues for the rest of the year, which might leave no time to address the DAIA. Congress has opioid legislation as a high priority, followed by drug pricing issues and new discussion about another push on the Affordable Care Act. With only six months remaining in this legislative session and an upcoming election, it is uncertain if the DAIA will capture enough legislator interest to be considered. And given the possibility of a political shift in the 116th Congress, diagnostics legislation could look different in 2019—if proposed at all. Professor Hall concluded that legislative reform around molecular diagnostics and LDTs has been a story of actual and perceived differences between stakeholders and their needs, yielding little common ground or agreement about how to move forward. While the DAIA represents a step towards consensus, the decades-old issue simply might need a little more time.

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GETS Keynote Speaker Erica Kochi on AI and Human Rights

Erica Kochi, co-founder of UNICEF Innovation, was a keynote speaker at the Sixth Annual Governance of Emerging Technology & Science Conference. While at the conference she sat down with Faculty Fellow Andrew Maynard and Heather Ross for an engaging episode of the Future Out Loud podcast.

The episode covers a wide range of topics, including: Is that octopus an alien? (maybe), and; What was it like sharing the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World list with Beyoncé? The group also gets down to discussing Kochi’s fascinating work at the intersection of human rights and machine learning.

Who are the AIs of the future actually learning from? How does this build biases around gender, age, and economics into the structure of AI? How should governments be regulating the development of AI for national competitiveness and the protection of human rights?

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Marchant Talks Frozen Embryo Laws on LegalEase Podcast

Faculty Director Gary Marchant recently discussed Arizona’s controversial law governing frozen embryos on the LegalEase Podcast – a show produced by Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law students and alumni.

Arizona recently passed a law requiring, in part, that in a dispute over the use of frozen embryos courts must award the embryos to the spouse “who intends to allow the … embryos to develop to birth.” The law was inspired by a recent decision in a contentious divorce case. A court in Maricopa County ordered frozen embryos donated to a third party, where the former husband disagreed with his wife’s wishes to use the embryos following their divorce.

On the podcast, Marchant debates and discusses, sometimes line by line, the finer aspects of the new law with Phoenix civil litigator Angelica Simpson.

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Blockchain Proponents on Business, Regulation, and Society

Faculty Director Gary Marchant sat down with Congressman David Schweikert, co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, and Sweetbridge CEO Scott Nelson as part of LSI’s recent Blockchain Speaker Series.

Marchant, Schweikert, and Nelson engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of the regulatory challenges facing blockchain innovation, as well as the opportunities for streamlining a host of private and governmental functions using blockchain technology. Supply chain liquidity, banking, portability of medical records, tax collection, proving regulatory compliance – all could potentially be revolutionized by blockchain.

Sweetbridge wants to be on front lines of that potential revolution. The company just won several awards – Most innovative use of Blockchain in the Supply Chain and Judges’ Choice – at the Blockchain Expo in Amsterdam.

When Schweikert and Nelson think about this technology, they think big. “If we all care about society – and this is where we sometimes miss our messages – this is not technology for technology’s sake. It’s technology for efficiency that will help us grow our society, economy, and opportunity,” said Schweikert.

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GETS Speakers Featured in Jurimetrics Symposium Issue

The latest Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology is a symposium issue featuring LSI’s Governance of Emerging Technologies & Science Conference and including papers by three past presenters. 

Karinne Ludlow – The Policy and Regulatory Context of U.S., U.K., and Australian Responses to Mitochondrial Donation Governance.

Ludlow analyses the responses of three national governments to the development of mitochondrial donation – a new assisted reproductive technology, which creates an embryo with DNA from three individuals.

Jordan Paradise – Exploring PrecisionFDA, an Online Platform for Crowdsourcing Genomics.

Paradise critically evaluates the FDA’s online platform – which promises increased accuracy and quality in genetic sequencing-based tests – looking specifically at precision medicine and the rapid advances in the treatment of difficult to treat diseases, including certain cancers.

Carla L. ReyesCryptolaw for Distributed Ledger Technologies: A Jurisprudential Framework.

Reyes provides a primer on what blockchain technologies actually are – including setting out the breadth of potential uses in commerce and national security – and identifies challenges to regulating this technology. Reyes also begins to flesh out those regulatory structures could look like.

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Blockchain and the Law CLE Now Available On Demand

The Center for Law, Science & Innovation recently hosted a Blockchain Speaker Series that brought together CEOs, legislators, and legal professionals to discuss present and future legal challenges and regulation related to blockchain technology.

The series is now available as On Demand CLE. The 4-hour course features the following engaging topics and expert speakers:

  • Caroline Lynch (Copper Hill Strategies)
  • Mark Goldstein (International Research Center)
  • Jay Carpenter (Desert Blockchain)
  • Congressman David Schweikert (Congressional Blockchain Caucus)
  • State Rep. Jeff Weninger (Sponsor of Arizona’s Smart Contracts Law)
  • Chief Counsel Paul Watkins (Arizona Attorney General’s Office)
  • Mac McGary (President – Sweetbridge Alliance)
  • Ryan Taylor (CEO – Dash)
  • Mike Boyd (CEO – RealBlock)
  • Scott Henderson (Founder – NewLAWu.s.)
  • Bryce Suzuki (Managing Partner – Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner)
  • Joshua Boehm (Associate – Perkins Coie)

Enroll for the Blockchain and the Law Course:

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