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LAW8580 : Artificial Intelligence: Law, Theory and Practice

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Tanya Krupiy
  • Lecturer: Professor Lilian Edwards
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This course aims to provide students with an overview of the societal significance of the deployment of artificial intelligence technology and the regulatory landscape. After taking the course, the students will be able to propose policy interventions for governing artificial intelligence technology. They will be aware of the challenges of applying existing international human rights law norms to this new context and devise appropriate solutions. In order to develop approaches to regulating artificial intelligence technology, stakeholders need to know the technical aspects of this technology and its societal impact. Due to having an awareness of how technology impacts people, social arrangements and governance, stakeholders can make more informed decisions. They can think of solutions to prevent harmful effects from arising. This course introduces the students to these issues. The students will learn about different theories regarding why societies regulate, how they achieve this task and what actors can be involved. They will be able to evaluate the societal consequences of using regulation-based, rights-based, and social justice-based approaches to fashioning legal intervention. Consequently, they will be better positioned to craft legal interventions that account for diverse interests. The students will be familiar with the different approaches that policy-makers across the globe adopt in order to regulate artificial intelligence technology. They will be able to analyse the benefits and drawbacks of various regulatory approaches. This course will interest students who wish to work in the policy-making arena, in private practice, in the not-for-profit sector, and for international organisations.

Outline Of Syllabus

The proposed outline of the syllabus is as follows, with the proviso that case studies will change each year dependent upon current issues, controversies and developments:

1. The interrelationship between the design of artificial intelligence technologies and societal outcomes
2. The interrelationship between knowledge creation, culture, society and technology
3. Artificial intelligence technology as a tool of governance
4. Governing artificial intelligence: introduction to the theories and principles of regulation
5. Rights-based approach to governing artificial intelligence technology
6. Social justice-based approaches to governing artificial intelligence technology
7. Governing artificial intelligence: regulatory instruments and techniques; European Union scene
8. Data-based approach to governing artificial intelligence technology: GDPR model for data protection in the context of the right to private life
9. Doctrinal solutions to novel challenges posed by artificial intelligence technology
10. Understanding artificial intelligence technology and the policy landscape across different regions

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00In person classes
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00Preparation of assignments
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading23:307:00Students carry out reading and research as preparation for the in-class academic skills activities
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities21:002:00The students will work on answering a problem-based question in class
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00Four one-hour long Q&A sessions to allow students to ask questions relating to the module content
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1107:00107:00Own reading and revision of the module content, combined with directed reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The students will attend 10 research seminars. Each seminar is 2 hours in duration. The students will read the reading materials prior to participating in each seminar. The instructor will facilitate the students as they complete active learning-based activities in groups. Through completing these activities, the students engage with the reading materials and hone the skills which the course is designed to develop. The instructor will provide comments on an ongoing basis in order to enable the students to achieve deeper learning. This approach is appropriate for a postgraduate course because it focuses on the development of critical analysis, problem solving, communication and teamwork skills. Students at the graduate level have experience of reading the materials and identifying the main issues. Since some of the students have a non-law background, the instructor will incorporate a lecture component into the research seminar. The amount of time which the instructor spends on the lecture component will decrease as the course progresses in order to enable the students to become more independent.

The students will take part in 2 academic skills activities in class. Each activity is 1 hour in duration. The students will complete a problem-based exercise in groups during each activity. The students may carry out research prior to participating in these activities as preparation. The students will receive feedback and instruction. This activity will enable the students to practice their research, analytical, problem solving and teamwork skills.

I will hold 4 drop-in surgeries. The students can ask questions relating to the course. I will provide information about what steps the students can take to improve their skills. The surgeries support students in their knowledge and skill development. The students have an opportunity to raise issues relating to the module. Where relevant and needed the instructor will incorporate a lecture component into this session in order to ensure that the students have a good understanding of the material.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper1M902500 words
Research proposal1M10The students will receive feedback on their research essay outline prior to writing the research essay. 650 words.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Reflective log1MThe assignment has no weight on the final grade. Students only need to show that they have completed and submitted the assignment for the purpose of receiving feedback.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assignment 1 (summative assessment)

The instructor will provide a number of essay questions the students can choose from. The students will submit an assignment of 650 words in length in which they formulate an outline for the research essay. The purpose of this assignment is to enable the students to practice their analytical and communication skills. This assignment prepares students to write the research essay and enables them to receive ongoing feedback.

Assignment 2 (formative assessment)

The reflective log writing activity is designed to enable students to strengthen their teamwork skills and to identity what steps they can take to improve their teamwork skills. The students will consider what role they adopt in the team, how effectively they are interacting with each team member and why they find it more difficult to build relationships with some of the team members. The students will additionally consider what dimensions diversity brings to the team. The students will implement strategies for personal development as they evaluate their performance on an ongoing basis. The students will submit to me a written assignment in which they discuss what they learned through working as part of a team as well as what steps they have been taking to improve their teamwork skills. The assignment is 350 words.

Assignment 3 (summative assessment)

The students will write a 2 500 word research essay. The instructor will formulate a number of research essay questions and offer the students a choice on which topic to work. The teacher will formulate the research essay assignments in a manner which captures a legal issue which is the subject of current legal debate. The teacher will formulate the research essay assignment which reduces the likelihood that students use ChatGPT or similar software to assist them to write their assignment. Subsequently, the students will conduct research. The students will carry out critical analysis as part of completing the research essay assignment. This assignment is designed to enable students to gain greater autonomy. I allocated teaching time for providing feedback to the students on the essay outline. As a result of completing this assignment, the students will ameliorate their research, problem solving, analytical and written communication skills. This is a summative assessment.

Reading Lists