We need "Legal Futurism"

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Yeah, yeah you think Im nuts, been hearing it all the time :)

We've heard profession called "legal futurist", its the kind of professional that matches what kind of IT tools suits best for the lawyers and how the legal practice will be delivered in the future. But, that's not what I am talking about, I am not talking about a virtual lawfirm or using google desktop search for your lawfirm's knowledge management or some software for due dilligence that can make the partners fire their paralegals. Those kinds of tech has been discussed elsewhere by KM experts.

What I am talking about is a specific body of the legal science which dedicates itself in making prognosis of the future of the legal system and develop models for new bodies of law. Legal futurism will have to work side by side by futurist in modelling the future. It deals with questions such as, what kind of right applies to private ownership in Mars in the event of terraforming, or can artificial intellegence be a legal subject or if personal nanofactory is possible what kind of liability laws should be imposed or, since information is reality itself, should the law that applies to information be applicable to the "real world"?

I've been thinking that we can use a developing body of ethics such as the "reversibility principle" or "proactionary principle" for the discussion. Ethics can fill the content but the structure of which the content is embodied must be provided by the legal science. Emerging legal theories such as the concept of "Juridification" can also be used as an additional tool.

Another tools may come from legal history. By understanding the background that leads to the formation of Rights (for example, IPR or real estate laws), we can understand what kind of new right that could emerge in the future. Analogy will also play an important role. UN-Model, Intelsat, Inmarsat, IMF and EU model can be used to propose the organisation of future molecular nanotechnology administration. Some transhuman groups had also suggest a copyright model for determining parenhood, something that I consider to be extraordinarily genious.

Legal futurism shall not attempt to answer a question, for it would be a futile attempt to do so. Instead, what it should do is to create models of solution.