Play Fantasy SCL Lecturers

June 8, 2009

Posting a simple news item about Richard Susskind (being appointed to a post at the OII) reminded me of the current ongoing musings about the next SCL Lecture. It is hardly fair to Richard, given his vast range of achievements over the years, but he is firmly filed under ‘SCL Lecturer’ in my mind. Since the list includes Edward de Bono, Sir Hugh Laddie and Laurence Lessig, he may not worry too much.

On the same basis, I was hoping that, after 2010, people would say ‘Angelina Jolie? Didn’t she once give the SCL Lecture?’ but my suggestion has not met with widespread approval. To be fair, it probably is time to move away from choosing a speaker from the USA – but I fancy that she will be very disappointed.

Maybe it is time too to move away from copyright as the focus. It is many years since Elizabeth France was the lecturer and data protection has not really had a look in since. So that’s an obvious candidate subject, especially when allied with the headline-grabbing topic of privacy.

And, notwithstanding the voting (and non-voting) on 4 June, we are part of Europe so perhaps a Continental voice might be appropriate. I must say I envy the Scottish Society of Computers and Law, who have Thomas Hoeren as their lecturer for 17 June (see {here:} for details).

I greatly enjoyed the mind-boggling technical world outlined by Peter Cochrane when he gave the lecture. We could try and repeat that exercise and have someone who will open our eyes to technical possibilities yet to come.

My personal list of fantasy lecturers includes:

(i) Viviane Reding – the EU Commissioner can tell us why we are all wrong;
(ii) Richard Thomas – the former Information Commissioner can tell us what he couldn’t say when he was still Commissioner;
(iii) Christopher Graham – the new Information Commissioner will have had his feet under the table long enough to be interesting;
(iv) Adam Afriyie – I appreciate that you have never heard of him, but he could tell us about Conservative Party policies for technology (assuming that there are some) and that might soon be quite a useful thing to hear about;
(v) Tim Wu – he is the co-author of ‘Who Controls the Internet: Illusions of a Borderless world’; it’s true that he is American and an expert on copyright but (a) his mother’s British and (b) he could talk about network neutrality or a number of other issues where he has striking views;
(vi) Tim Berners-Lee – in view of his legendary status, he could talk about anything he likes.

Of course, it might be nice to have someone who could really open our eyes to the full possibilities of convergence, with real expertise in the world of entertainment and the bonus of an insight into privacy issues, with special emphasis on invasion of privacy. Now you mention it, Angelina Jolie would be ideal.

Who do you think the SCL Trustees should invite?

{i}This post was written in the hope of provoking suggestions from SCL members which indicate what topics or speakers might appeal to them for the SCL Lectures of 2010 or beyond. Do let me have your suggestions in the comments box. Quite frankly, the post will look a little foolish without any.{/i}