Eric Goldman, who writes about intellectual property and advertising law, does a column for Forbes summing up the Annual Top Ten Legal trends/flare-ups for the Tech industry. It’s a quick read, a nice portal into just what legal wires our disruptive tech culture is currently fraying.
The new “share” or “gig” economy has been pushing legal boundaries for a while. Tech simply moves faster than any bureaucratic apparatus, and that creates challenges. But before you rail against government bureaucracy and give a nod to the forward-thinking silicon valley, remember that silicon valley got its start in well … you guessed it, government contracts.
A game-changing technology like the autonomous car, which really isn’t all that far off from a tech standpoint, illuminates the problems that loom when the fast-moving tech world needs to work with more slow-moving operations like local governments. You could soon order up your driverless car to work from your phone in the morning, but is our infrastructure and governments ready for that? Even GM has gotten on board by teaming up with lyft.
There are other big trends surfacing including what constitutes an employee vs. independent contractor. Uber is pressing the boundaries with their drivers who are currently independent contractors, but that doesn’t really seem to jibe with current employment law and we expect some friction there. Unless of course the autonomous car takes care of the issue. Uber has been in talks with Apple, but they have been very secretive (of course).
Who knows what 2016 holds, but as we see it things seem to be heating up. It’s exciting to think about, but it’s also something to think about when you vote. Who’s going to do a good job about making those disrupters a little less disruptive?
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