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Emerging technology, ethics and the law

May 12, 2023

Upcoming conference focuses on policy and regulatory responses to the latest technologies

Regulating euphoria, mood enhancement technology and the legal future of ChatGPT. 

These and other topics will be addressed at the 10th annual Governance of Emerging Technologies and Sciences, or GETS, conference, which takes place May 18–19 at the Beus Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix. 

Hosted by Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the two-day event addresses ethical and legal issues surrounding ChatGPT and many other emerging technologies. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about successful policy and regulatory responses that can be applied across a broad spectrum of technologies and industries.

“Since GETS began, there have been a lot of new events and conferences focusing on governance of a specific emerging technology,” said Gary Marchant, Lincoln Professor of Law, Ethics and Emerging Technologies at ASU. “GETS is different in that it addresses governance of dozens of different technologies.” 

The forum will feature 22 sessions and more than 100 speakers — scientists, lawyers, regulators, philosophers, ethicists and academics — coming from across the country and as far away as Belgium, Taiwan and Africa. More than 200 people are registered for the event. Sessions include "Augmented Reality and the Law," "Reining in Big Tech" and more.

“We wanted to create a forum, even a community, that would bring together people from different disciplines, working on different emerging technologies and at different stages of their career,” said Marchant, who is also a Regents Professor and faculty director for ASU’s Center for Law, Science and Innovation.

Here, Marchant talks about conference and the importance of these discussions.

Note: The following answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.

founder of the Governance of Emerging Technologies and Science conference

Gary Marchant

Question: The conference is now in its 10th year. Were you instrumental in launching it?

Answer: Yes.The idea for the conference originated when I was visiting a Yale scholar, Wendell Wallach, who also works on governance of several different emerging technologies. We realized that challenges facing governance efforts in many different technologies were similar and that it would be useful to have a forum where experts in the governance of many different technologies could meet and cross-fertilize approaches, successes and failures. 

We came to a flash of inspiration to produce such a conference and that was how GETS was created. 

Q: Why is a conference like this important? 

 A: Traditional government regulation is unlikely to be effective with most emerging technologies. So, we need new innovations in governance and that’s what this conference focuses on. 

Q: Speaking of innovations, do GETS attendees learn about the latest technologies? 

A: GETS is a great event for learning about all the latest developments in technology, as there are always exciting and new developments every year. Artificial intelligence and in particular generative AI, such as ChatGPT, will be a major focus this year, given the rapid developments and need for governance experienced over the past year. 

But there are also important new developments and presentations in technologies such as blockchain and crypto, data privacy and security, genomics, augmented reality, synthetic biology and many others.

Q: What new legal and ethical issues have accompanied new advances in technology? 

A: Many emerging technologies present safety, health or environmental concerns, like many past technologies. But many of these technologies raise other issues that are more difficult to govern and are outside the scope of existing regulatory authority — including issues such as privacy, human enhancement, discrimination and bias, job displacement and human autonomy.

Emerging technologies are raising new legal issues, such as: Can employers or governments require monitoring of our brain patterns? Who bears the liability when an AI system independently decides to take an action that harms people? Does an AI program that uses publicly available art to train on and produce its own artwork … violate the artists’ intellectual property rights? And on and on …

Q: How do policy and regulatory solutions keep up with the speed with which new technologies are emerging?

A: The “pacing problem” recognizes that government lawmaking is going slower than ever before, while technology is speeding up, creating a growing gap between technology and law. Other types of governance, that do not rely exclusively on bureaucratic government agencies, are needed to govern these emerging technologies. The GETS conference focuses on what those new governance models might look like.

Photo credit:

Dolores Tropiano

Reporter , ASU News

ASU voice professor connects music, science during field trip for grad students

May 12, 2023

Graduate-level voice performance and voice performance pedagogy students in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre recently participated in a field trip for a hands-on experience to dissect and explore the different parts of the body associated with singing.

Amanda DeMaris, clinical assistant professor of voice, took five students in her Anatomy and Physiology of Singing class to a lab in the science, mathematics and social science program at the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts on the Downtown Phoenix campus. Two students in masks and goggles dissect a sheep's larynx. Two voice performance students dissect a sheep's larynx. Photo by Amanda DeMaris Download Full Image

DeMaris said that while the students are always doing hands-on learning and practical application of topics in the teaching components of their vocal pedagogy classes, this was the first time that she exposed them to this type of experience.

“The voice can be a complicated instrument to teach, in part because our instrument is within us,” DeMaris said. “I thought that this opportunity would help deepen the students' understanding of the anatomy of the voice, and in turn have a positive effect on their teaching.”

Joining DeMaris and her class was Stephanie Weiss, associate professor of voice, who is frequently guest lecturer for the class. Weiss said she has used 2D and 3D diagrams and videos, but the hands-on experience was also a first for her.

DeMaris said the inspiration for the field trip came from colleague Andrea Pitman Will, voice instructor and ASU alumna, who mentioned that a visit to a campus cadaver lab through her vocal pedagogy class had a huge positive impact.

After researching available resources for a similar experience, DeMaris discovered the Anatomage Table, or digital cadaver, housed in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, and planned a tour and hands-on experience.

The lab coordinator, Christopher Gozo, took the students through the dissection of a sheep's larynx, as the structure is similar to that of a human. Through the dissection process, students were able to feel the texture of the cartilage and muscles. They also viewed cadaver specimens of a human head and human lungs and were guided through the interactive Anatomage Table that allowed them to dissect parts of the cadaver images, practice identifying the elements of the voice and see them in scale to the rest of the human body.

DeMaris said the experience provided benefits unavailable from classroom work, such as getting to know the anatomy and physiology of the singing voice. Pictures, video and models are also helpful, she said, to solidy the ability to identify and understand all of the working parts.

Bille Bruley, doctoral student in voice performance, described the experience as “amazing, incredibly enriching, helpful and fascinating.”    

“My favorite part of the visit was the dissection of the sheep larynx,” Bruley said, “Although a little different than the human larynx, we were able to physically and tangibly see the inner workings of the small but complex laryngeal mechanism, and identify, question and discover all of the things we’ve been learning.” 

Weiss described the experience as a huge benefit to the learning process that vividly enhances and builds on regular classroom learning. Because the students can see real specimens and visualize the anatomical structures, she said, it solidifies their understanding.

“I would definitely do this again,” Weiss said. “It is wonderful that we have access to this lab, and I hope that we can use it more in the future, as it made all of the theoretical concepts from the diagrams in the books come to life.” 

DeMaris and Weiss both said they hoped that, through this experience, the students will better retain the course material and be motivated and inspired to continue their study of anatomy and physiology to deepen their understanding of how the vocal instrument works. 

DeMaris said since the students had such a positive experience, she plans to incorporate more of these types of field trips in future classes.

DeMaris and Weiss said future collaborations with the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts and the speech and hearing department in the College of Health Solutions are being planned to provide learning opportunities for voice and vocal pedagogy students. 

“The collaboration between our two departments was very special, and getting to talk to students and professors from the medical side of what we study was simply amazing,” Bruley said. “We all have things we can learn from others, especially others that study the same thing from very different perspectives. We were learning from their department while they were learning from ours at the same time. That was the best part of this visit ... true collaboration.” 

Lynne MacDonald

communications specialist, School of Music, Dance and Theatre