Andrew C. Michaels, University of Houston Law Center, is publishing Abstract Innovation, Virtual Ideas, and Artificial Legal Thought in volume 14 of the Maryland Journal of Business & Technology Law. Here is the abstract.
In a culture of tech-triumphalism, it is often assumed that advances in technology are "making the world a better place," though in reality technology can have both positive and negative effects. This article explores how technology could change the way we think (or don't think) about law, and whether such changes would be beneficial. Part I uses the novel Ready Player One to consider how virtual reality technology might distract people from reality. Considering a hypothetical patent on a virtual reality idea from the novel, Part II discusses the evolving law of patentable subject matter and abstract ideas. Part III considers predictions that legal thought of the type done in the previous part will become automated, and then considers some potential drawbacks of replacing human legal thought with artificial legal thought. The article concludes by questioning whether anyone will be thinking about law in the future, and whether it matters.Download the article from SSRN at the link.