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Mr Christopher Markou's picture


Education CV


  • The University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law, PhD
    • Visiting Fellow, CitizenLab, The Univeristy of Toronto
  • The University of Manchester, School of Law, LLB (1st)
  • The University of Toronto, St, Michael's College, MA (Honours)
    • The University of Toronto, St, Michael's College, BA (Honours)


      • Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship, 2014-2018
      • Arts and Humanities Reesarch Council (AHRC) Doctoral Scholarship (Offered), 2014-2018
      • Programme in European Private Law, Postgradute Scholarship, 2016-2017
      • Wright Rogers Scholarship, The University of Cambridge, 2014-2018
      • Faculty of Law Bursary, The University of Cambridge, 2014-2018


      • Faculty of Law, The Unviersity of Cambridge, Economics of Law and Regulation, Lectuer, Michaelmas 2017-
      • Faculty of Law, The University of Cambridge, Economics of Law and Regulation (LLM), Guest Lecturer, Lent 2017
      • Department of Land Economy, The University of Cambridge, Law and Economics Paper 12, Guest Lectuer, Lent 2017
      • Faculty of Law, The Univeristy of Copenhagen, RoboLaw, Guest Lecturer, February 2017

      Professional Associations

      • The Law Society of Upper Canada
      • The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
      • University of Cambridge, Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP)
      • National Union of Journalists
      • Legal Expert Committee, Responsible Robotics
      • Advisor, Technology, Law + Policy, Neurorobotics Magazine

      Fields of research

      • Technology Law & Policy
      • Emerging Technologies
      • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
      • Horizon-scanning and Foresight
      • The 'Future of Work'
      • Evolutionary Economics
      • Systems/Complexity Theory
      • Social Ontology
      • Science, Technology & Society
      • Cognitive Law
      • Philosophy of Technology


      The Conflict of Law and Technology: A Systems Theory of Arificial Intelligence Regulation


      Law and technology regularly conflict. The reasons for this are several and complex. Some conflicts are easily resolvable; others are not. History teaches us that when law and technology conflict; both systems can adapt—often over periods of time—to new social circumstances and continue performing their societal functions. Simply; law and technology co-evolve. If the legal system is to retain its autonomy in society; what are its’ adaptive limits in the context of today’s profound technological changes?

      My thesis addresses the question of whether, and if so, to what extent, the legal system can respond to conflicts with increasingly complex and legally problematic technological change. It draws on theories of legal and social evolution—particularly the Social Systems Theory of Niklas Luhmann—to explore the notion of a ‘lag’ in the ability of the legal system to respond to technological changes and ‘shocks’. It evaluates the claim that the legal system’s ‘lagged’ response to technological change is a deficit of its functioning,. The hypothesis here: “lag” is an endogenous legal advantage that helps ensure the legal system’s autonomy, as well as the continuity of legal processes that help ameliorate potentially harmful or undesirable outcomes of science and technology on society and the individual.

      The legal system can adjust to technological change. However, it can only adjust its’ internal operations, which takes time, and is constrained by the structural need to maintain legal autonomy. The signs of this adjustment take the form of conceptual evolution in the face of new technological changes and risks; among other things. A reading of Anglo-American legal history demonstrates this.

      While legal systems are comparatively inflexible in response to new technologies—due to the rigidity of legal doctrine and reliance upon precedent and analogy in legal reasoning—an alternative outcome is possible: the disintegration of the boundary between law and technology and the consequential loss of legal autonomy. A change of this kind would be signalled by what some identify as the emergence of a technological ordering—or a ‘rule of technology’—that displaces and potentially subsumes the rule of law.

      My thesis evaluates evidence for these two scenarios—the self-renewing capacity of the legal system, on the one hand, or its disintegration in response to technological change, on the other. These opposing scenarios are evaluated using a social ontological study of technology generally, and a case study using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify and predict the co-evolutionary of the law/technology relationship; and assess the extent to which the legal system can shape, and be shaped by, technological change writ large. In assessing this situation, this thesis explores the nature of AI, its benefits and drawbacks, and argues that its proliferation may require a corresponding shift in how the law operates. As AI develops, centralised authorities such as government agencies, corporations, and legal systems, may lose the ability to coordinate and regulate the activities of disparate persons through ex post regulatory means. Consequentially, there is a pressing need to understand not just how AI interfaces with existing legal frameworks, but how Anglo-American legal systems must adapt in anticipation of both short and long term legal challenges; challenges that until now have been unexplored.



      Professor Simon Deakin (Peterhouse)

      Professor Ross Anderson (Churchill)

      Representative Publications

      Papers Presented

      • 'What Role For Law in AI?' University of Krakow, Program in Private European Law, 20 January 2017
      • 'Complexity Theory as a Paradigm for Artificial Intelligence Regulation' Cambridge Conference on Catastrophic Risk, Clare College, The University of Cambridge, 12 December 2016
      • ‘Courtroom Application of Virtual Reality’, London, Bar Standards Board, 8 December 2016
      • 'Law, Work and Technology: A Systems Approach' Rustat Conference on the Future of Work, Jesus College, The Univeristy of Cambridge, 22 November 2016
      • 'How Should Law Think About AI?' Society of Legal Scholars Conference, Jesus College, The Univeristy of Oxford, 5 October 2016

      Book Chapters

      • 'Nineteen Eighty-Four's Religion' (with James Crossley) in E Di Nucci and S Storrie (eds) 1984 and Philosophy (Open Court 2018).


      Start Date

      Oct 2014

      End date

      Oct 2018