World Legal Summit Convenes Virtually + IRL

And now for something completely different….The World Legal Summit (WLS), a project to bring experts together to explore legal and regulatory issues related to new technologies, will hold its summit this summer In Real Life (IRL) in 30 cities around the planet, and virtually using the VirBELA platform.

The VirBELA format (see screenshots below) looks a bit like Second Life, for those who remember it, and perhaps for the younger generation it looks a bit like Minecraft. Although, in this case there is no virtual island building going on, it’s just a digital meeting place.

Screenshots of the virtual meeting place.

But, aside from the digital fun, there is a serious aspect to all of this. The summit will aim to explore how new tech should be regulated. The first three topics for this year are:

  • Identity and Personal Governance
  • Autonomous Machines
  • Cyber Security and Personal Data

Part One will occur in physical locations simultaneously across a 24hr window on August 1, and Part Two will occur Sept 6-8.

At present participants include: Deloitte, Allen & Overy, the Nigerian Ministry of Justice, Gowlings WLG, HiiL, and the Singapore Academy of Law, as well as dozens of individuals around the world.

The organisers said: ‘With legal innovation we’re accustomed to initiatives focused on driving technology into the legal industry, whereas the WLS is a 180 degree turn.’

‘The WLS is focused on bringing better legal insights to new technologies, rather than the other way around. It is primarily focused on emerging technologies that are global in nature and currently under the heat of complex regulatory challenges.’

Going back to the virtual aspect, the WLS said that: ‘Participants will be able to walk around and network with their peers across the globe. This will also be the mode by which those that cannot attend a physical location, can have a peek into what’s going on, with rooms inside the world dedicated to showcasing physical locations via web streaming.’

Could they have done this with a massive video conference, or Zoom share screen extravaganza…? Perhaps, but the idea of walking around looking into what’s going on in different ‘rooms’ sounds useful. Also, keeping a video conference going all day with many dozens of participants around the world may be a bit unwieldy.

Any road, if you’d like to know more or get involved in the regulatory debate over a range of new technology issues, then check out the links:

Or contact:

[ P.S. does anyone remember Second Life…? Artificial Lawyer’s editor remembers having a look back in 2004. Apparently it’s still going, and according to Wikipedia (and Ars Technica) it had 800,000 active users in 2017. Maybe Second Life seems dated now (tho’ the graphics appear to have improved since the early 2000s), given that many people have VR headsets at home, and most of us live in a quasi-virtual world via a symbiotic relationship with our smartphones and the dozens of websites such as Facebook etc that enmesh with our daily lives.]

1 Comment

  1. Haven’t been on Second Life for over 5 years but I did set up a virtual mediation room with a view to helping members resolve the many disputes that arise between users. I must see if it’s still there gathering virtual dust and cobwebs.

    But congrats on the innovative formula of the WLS.

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