Seminar: Deven Desai

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 1:00 pm
LAR 234


The call to innovate persists. It is everywhere. Science and business travel together so that new discovery can come to market and hopefully create positive changes for society. And yet, the heady days of deference to industry that applies breakthroughs may be over. This change is quite present in data driven innovation areas. That is, rather than having faith in large data sets, data analytics, artificial intelligence and related machine learning, governments are calling for limits and regulations on data-driven innovation. The questions are why and what can be done to remedy this situation? My work looks at changes in what value creation is from business academia, mistakes by data-driven industries that have called their model into question, and the nature of innovation to show why legal systems have shifted from a position of relative deference to regulation. I use debates around so-called algorithmic transparency and data privacy to show why technologists need to take these changes seriously and even when non-technologists misunderstand a technology they wish to regulate. I offer that there is an increased need for trust between non-technologists and technologists. As such, I present options which technologists, industry, and the government can provide to build a fuller system of trust. In simplest terms, I seek to offer ways that scientists, industry, and government can co-create value rather than extract it for one party.


Deven Desai is a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Scheller College of Business. He joined the faculty in fall of 2014 in the Law and Ethics Program. He was also the first and, to date, only academic research counsel at Google, Inc., and a visiting fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. Professor Desai’s scholarship examines how business interests, new technology, and economic theories shape privacy and intellectual property law and where those arguments explain productivity or where they fail to capture society’s interest in the free flow of information and development. His work has appeared in leading law reviews and journals including the Georgetown Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Florida Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, U.C. Davis Law Review, Brigham Young University Law Review, and Harvard Journal of Law and Technology. Prior to becoming a professor, Desai has been a litigator handling intellectual property and technology matters with Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart, & Sullivan, LLP; in-house counsel for an idealab! Internet infrastructure company; and part of the policy and fundraising teams on the 2002 Cory Booker for Mayor campaign. Professor Desai has been interviewed about 3D printing, intellectual property, privacy, and technology by the New York Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, NBC News, and the news show, Take Part Live. He has blogged about technology, intellectual property, and privacy at Concurring Opinions. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with highest honors and the Yale Law School, where he was co-editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities.