Back to the Future – Coming Shortly

June 30, 2014

Everybody I speak to about it tells me that the SCL Technology Law Futures Forum was a brilliant event. I am not sure that I would have been qualified to write a proper account of it even if I had attended for longer than the three hours or so I managed. French air traffic controllers, a suspect package and the grim reaper* conspired to limit my attendance to the extent that I really only had the full benefit of the session on personal robots. That session was brilliant – challenging, amusing and informative. It left me feeling like a starving man fed delicious canapés and then returned to his place on the street as the main party tucked into its feast. It was great to meet a few of our authors there too.

Fortunately, if I can cope with my hunger for a little longer, I can feast on the canned version of the feast – the podcasts of the Forum will be online next week. I would especially recommend these to practitioners, who may feel that they offer too rarefied a fare for the likes of them. Unless you are particularly averse to thinking, nothing could be further from the truth. But I suspect that the canned version will not fully replace the buzz that you would have got had you attended. Think about it for next year.

The other session I caught (most of), on healthcare, was suitably informative, but mainly frightening. I was left wondering about the limits of intrusiveness. Whereas others worry about monitoring affecting their spurious claims to being healthy (in the hope of reducing their insurance premiums), I think my plan to claim to be an obese smoker with suicidal tendencies (to improve my pension annuity offer) might come under threat. There must be a balance between our (very) personal privacy and the finding of cures that might benefit mankind but it will not be an easy balance to maintain (as our local debates about care data demonstrate).

*Shed no tears. This is a reference to a memorial event I had to attend – I remain in rude health.