The lecture examines three key aspects of the impact of AI on corporate governance. First, the tech industry’s general governance disfunction focused on highly controlling founders, the financing of technology and its impact on operational AI. Second, the corporatisation of AI development as it has moved rapidly in recent years from the universities to the tech companies creating a tension between academic values and corporate utility that in turn creates AI operational disfunction. Third, it examines the impact of operational AI on the corporation as a legal and economic entity which may remove the mitigating function of the board of directors creating a very direct form of market capitalism without any employee, environmental, community or short v long term mitigation of corporate actions. Currently these governance issues do not form a significant part of the AI regulatory reform conversation.
Join us via Zoom. Meeting ID: 843 6411 4509
Alan Dignam is an Irish academic lawyer who writes on corporate theory. He is Professor of Law at the school of law at Queen Mary University of London.
His work spans the study of Corporations and Human Rights, the Globalization of Corporate Governance, Corporate Disregard (Veil Lifting/Piercing) and the governance of Artificial Intelligence. Along with David Allen inn 2000 he produced one of the first books analysing the application of Human Rights instruments to Corporations. Subsequently, working with Michael Galanis, in The Globalization of Corporate Governance (2009) they used institutional analysis to examine the convergence of corporate governance in the UK, the US and Germany and argued, contrary to convergence theories, that globalisation was in retreat and that it would be replaced with rising nationalist economic agendas. Since 2014 he has been working on a large scale empirical project with Professor Peter Oh from the University of Pittsburgh examining corporate disregard (Veil lifting/piercing etc) in the UK over the course of the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries. They have argued that despite multiple attempts by the senior UK judiciary, no overarching legal principles seem to be present and that the context of the legal action such as Criminal, Tort, and Contract, seems to weigh heavily on the outcome. Since 2016 he has been a member of a Welcome Trust funded network exploring the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Corporations where he has argued for AI to be regulated and licenced on the same basis as pharmaceutical products.
In November 1999 he was awarded the Fredrick I Medal for contributions to Academia by the Department of Political Science, University of Naples. For the Academic year 2002-2003 he held a visiting fellowship at the Law School, University of Melbourne and was a Parsons Scholar at the Law School, University of Sydney. In 2003 he was appointed by Lord Millet to the Editorial Board of Gore Brown on Companies. He was appointed in 2004 to the International Advisory Committee to the South African Department of Trade and Industry Company Law Review and has advised various governments, and NGOs on Corporate law, Human Rights and governance reform. In 2012 he was a Joint Visiting Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong when he was deported in order to ensure a planned public lecture did not take place. He has been an advisor to Amnesty International's Business Group on their corporate accountability campaigns and in 2012/13 worked with Amnesty and Menagerie Theatre Company to bring corporate human rights abuse to public attention through a large scale public engagement theatre project called Human Rights! Bloody Human Rights! http://www.humanrightsandbusiness.org/
He is an honorary Member of 7 Kings Bench Walk Chambers and a Member of the European Forum on Securities Regulation. In 2015 he was ZIFO Institute for Financial and Corporate Law Amsterdam Distinguished International Visitor and a visiting Professor at the Cambridge University Law Faculty. In December 2020 he was honoured for his contribution to the law by Queen Elizabeth II who appointed him Queens Counsel Honoris Causa.
He has written for the Times and the Guardian and written a radio play for the BBC.