SCL Conference Keynotes: Precious Bookends

May 11, 2017

You have booked a Conference place, but you are busy. The
temptation to deal with a few emails, organise the underlings (not the term you
use in their hearing) or even snatch a slice of what you laughingly call your
life can easily lead you to skip the opening keynote. The deadline that looms
at the end of the day and the need to check on those underlings can tempt you
to skip that final keynote. After all, you think, the keynotes are just the
flashy bookends and the real knowledge value is in the sessions.

Well, there may be times when the flashy bookends theory is
true. The SCL Conference on 8 June isn’t one of those times.

SCL Annual Conference title is ‘
Business Issues for Tech Lawyers
’ and the opening keynote from Alex
Depledge MBE will focus on ‘Real Business’.
 Alex is
an extraordinarily successful entrepreneur and businesswoman. She is the
co-founder and former CEO of, a company which focused on domestic
cleaning, built a valuable brand and was eventually sold for £24million
(leaving many of us wondering why we hadn’t thought of that). Since selling, she has gone on to start a new venture, Buildpath, which simplifies
planning issues and provides online architectural services. She has learned a
lot about the way in which law and enterprise interact and, sometimes, uncomfortably
collide. If she shares just some of those lessons, your time in attending the
keynote will be well rewarded.

Alex has views on how the UK measures up against the
dominance of Silicon Valley, the threats and opportunities automation and AI
offer, including the future for workplaces and workforces and might well be
tempted to share her views on women in technology and the sharing and gig
economy. That all adds up to a keynote that is not to be missed.

The closing keynote from tech law visionary Professor Andrea
M Matwyshyn will make your flesh run cold. Her insights into the Internet of
Bodies sound like something from science fiction but it is a fiction turned
reality. The US Federal Drug Administration has already approved the first
digital pills and the first IoB pancreas, and other early IoB technologies are
already in widespread use. Malfunctioning IoB pacemakers, cochlear implants,
and deep brain stimulation chips have resulted in the first generation of IoB
controversies in both the EU and USA. How do you balance bodily
integrity/consumer protection interests on the one hand and intellectual
property/data collection interests on the other? Just one question among a host
that Andrea will address – and which point towards solution that go beyond the
IoB and reach into all manner of incoming legal dilemmas. Since Andrea is a
Professor at Northeastern University and has close links with Stanford and
Princeton, she will be able to give an international perspective that might
encourage us to look up from the EU-based data protection obsession.

You may find yourself debating the issues long after Andrea
has finished her keynote, and may be glad of the closing Conference drinks to
soothe some of the anxiety her talk is likely to engender.