MIT IAP Computational Law Course

2018 MIT Computational Law Course

General Course Overview

This MIT-IAP course pursues a cross-disciplinary exploration of the implications of emerging technologies on law and legal processes, with an emphasis on the development and deployment of automated computational business and legal systems.  The course includes special focus areas on rules-driven Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Autonomous Transaction Networks.   We will cover a variety of issues, including identification and integration of the business/legal/technical layers or facets of various commercial, industrial, infrastructural, educational, social, political and governmental web-based systems, the complex interaction between governance and sovereignty in public and private sector contexts and the emergence of algorithmic, adaptive methods and mechanisms for regulatory, adjudicative, fiduciary, contractual and other legal processes. The course will entail an intense array of learning and teaching methods. Students will be expected to participate in a variety of activities. As inspiration, we will also attempt to learn from and adopt or adapt aspects of the new join MIT Media Lab and Harvard Law School course on the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence.  In addition to MIT and Harvard students the course is open to MIT Media Lab and Harvard Berkman Klein Center fellows and affiliates and others approved to audit the course. There are no prerequisites for this course but permission of instructor is required to attend.

General Course Curriculum

This course provides a conceptual overview and hands-on projects for understanding and solving legal use cases with data analytics, blockchain and other cryptosystems and a special module on rapid design solutions to the Computational Law algorithmic sovereign system challenge. The course includes seminar style lecture/discussion sessions and hands-on, experiential learning through team projects. This course will be conducted primarily online with some in-person sessions held at MIT Media Lab for a limited number of Boston-area registered students.  Depending on available space, some applicants may be offered online The course format includes lectures and other presentations by invited experts with experiential learning activities including small breakout group discussions and team-based project sessions with presentations back to the entire class for feedback and discussion.  The course curriculum covers:

Legal Analytics, including 1) AI/Machine Learning for solving legal use cases; and 2) Using data-driven visualization including AR for display and interaction with models of complex legal and financial relationships and contexts.

Digital Assets, including: 1) Ownership rights, valuation and provenance of digital property; and 2) Storage and exchange of digital property with electronic contracts, automated transactions and autonomous agents

Digital Identity, including: 1) Technology and architecture for autonomy and control of self-sourced digital identity and personal data; and 2) Using individual identity for valid, verifiable login to apps or services and for providing legal acknowledgement, assent or authorization.

Digital Contracts, including 1) Integrating ordinary digital contracts and blockchain "smart contracts" in automated transactions by individuals or businesses; and 2) Standard open-web stack design patterns for executing multiple digital signatures and electronic notarization on digital legal contracts.

2018 Computational Law Design Challenge

Registered students and approved auditors participating in the 2018 MIT-IAP Computational Law course may join a special project team challenge to assist law.MIT.edu with the design and modelling of a novel computational law challenge to design, pilot and evaluate an algorithmic, automated and adaptive public rules system in collaboration with a city and other partners.  For more context and background on this creative project, see the video clip and project links below from MIT Legal Forum:

For more information on the 2018 Computational Law Design Challenge, check out:

For more information on the 2018 MIT-IAP Computational Law Course, check out our Media Lab GitHub RepoSplashpage and official MIT-IAP Course Listing page. 

Class Topics and Speakers

The content below is under active development and subject to change.

1-16-2018: Digital Asset Lifecycle Management



HackMD Page: https://hackmd.io/s/rybZ1pFEz


Diversity in Blockchain


1-17-2018: Multi-Party Contract Systems and Markets




1-18-2018: Individual Identity and Personal Data



Other Lecture and Breakout Topics Under Development

Professional Ethics and Fiduciary Duties

Principal-Agent Authorization and Third Parties

Personal Identity and Data Ownership and Control

Public Governance and Municipal Administration

Unincorporated Voluntary Organizations

Apply to Register or Audit

To request permission of instructor please use the 2018 MIT-IAP Computational Law Application.