We live in a disruptive age, with advances in technology largely fueling the disruption.
The internet, smartphones, mobile computing, social media, cloud computing, big data, blockchain, the Internet of Things, and so many more to come—these technologies have transformed, and continue to transform, our work, our lives, and our society (often for the better, but not always).
Moreover, the pace of technological advancement is accelerating, promising even greater disruption in the days, months, and years to come. Not only are existing disruptive technologies combining and building on one another in novel ways, but potentially even more disruptive technologies—artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, virtual reality, robotics, and quantum computing—are all on the cusp of major breakthroughs and primed to further upend the world and our lives.
The global COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder that nature, too, can be disruptive. Indeed, the pandemic has sped up the pace of technological change and adoption; the miraculous, lifesaving mRNA vaccines are the best example, but consider also how the pandemic is spurring greater automation, making videoconferencing and telecommuting ubiquitous, and fueling sales of VR headsets (thus helping to make the metaverse a reality).
Whereas the technology industry moves fast and breaks things, the law plods along slowly and cautiously. As a result, emerging technologies develop and are adopted at a much quicker pace than the law’s ability to identify and address the potential risks and unintended consequences of such technologies. This is built into the system—courts are necessarily reactive, and, with respect to legislators and regulators, it takes time for a consensus to form as to whether a new technology may cause harm. Once that consensus emerges, further time is needed to enact new laws or regulations to address such potential harm.
With technological developments outpacing the law’s ability to address the many new issues raised by such developments, all of us who work in the technology space—tech executives, engineers, product teams, marketers, salespeople, and attorneys—have a responsibility to try to anticipate and take steps to mitigate risks raised by the new products and business models.
We are launching Age of Disruption with the goal of exploring emerging technologies and the business and legal considerations raised by such technologies. We are fans of numerous legal blogs, or “blawgs,” covering technology law issues, but many of these blogs focus on particular technologies (e.g., blockchain or social media) or a particular set of legal issues (e.g., online marketing or intellectual property). We kept waiting for a blawg that would take a broader look at the business and legal ramifications of disruptive technologies, and, not seeing one, we decided to launch our own!
As the editors of Age of Disruption, longtime friends, Perkins Coie colleagues, and lawyers who have been advising clients on emerging technologies since the early days of New York’s Silicon Alley, we—Meeka Bondy and John Delaney—are thrilled to launch this blog with the support of our firm’s Technology Transactions & Privacy practice group (for which John serves as vice co-chair) and its Digital Media & Entertainment, Gaming & Sports industry group (where Meeka and John co-lead the group’s Music, Film & TV vertical).
We know that we need to earn our readership and your support, and we will work hard to do so over the coming months and years. We, along with our team of contributors, hope to share with Age of Disruption readers insights regarding new technologies and related business and legal risks, and to foster discussion around best practices for addressing such risks. We welcome your comments regarding Age of Disruption, and we especially appreciate your feedback on our posts and your suggestions for future topics.
Follow us on social media @PerkinsCoieLLP and contact us at Perkins Coie LLP – International Law Firm | Perkins Coie. Check out our website at Digital Media & Entertainment, Gaming & Sports | Perkins Coie and our sister podcast at Innovation Unlocked: The Future of Entertainment. See you back here soon!