Hin-Yan Liu
Hin-Yan Liu

Associate Professor

Dr Hin-Yan Liu joined the Faculty of Law as an Associate Professor in 2015. Before coming to Copenhagen, he was first a Max Weber Fellow and subsequently a Research Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, while concurrently holding a permanent appointment at New York University (NYU) in Florence. He had previously held academic positions at King’s College London and the University of Westminster, and has visited the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiberg on a Max Planck Society Scholarship.

His doctoral work at King’s College London was supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, King’s College London and the Government of Alberta. Controversially arguing that ordinary legal processes were at the source of the impunity enjoyed by the modern private military company, his thesis was passed without amendments and has been adapted into a monography to be published by Hart in September 2015. He was awarded his LL.M. in Human Rights Law by University College London (UCL) with distinction, and also holds degrees in law and psychology.

Dr Liu’s research interests lie at the frontiers of emerging technology governance, and in developing law and policy tools to mitigate existential and global catastrophic risks. His core research agenda focuses upon the myriad of governance, regulatory and legal challenges posed by artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. As these technologies become increasingly ubiquitous across society, fundamental questions concerning their impact and direction raised. In this sense, AI and robotics serve a crucial function as a mirror upon societal organisation by providing a defamiliarising vantage point against which we can evaluate hitherto unseen regulatory configurations in which we have been embedded.

Issac Asimov succinctly captured the technology governance gap: “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” Dr Liu’s research projects prise open law and policy niches in an attempt to narrow this gulf. As a way of organising the broad array of issues at the nexus between law, regulation and governance on the one hand, and artificial intelligence and robotics on the other, Dr Liu is developing the concept of ‘Legal Disruption’ as a threshold to filter out issues at this nexus which do not significantly perturb the legal order. Thus, AI and robotics only become problematic to the extent where it causes the law ‘run out’ or otherwise disrupts its societal functioning. He is currently exploring the ramifications of this approach with fervour, and welcomes the prospect for interdisciplinary collaboration to meet these emerging challenges.

At the Law Faculty, Dr Liu convenes a popular elective Master’s course ‘Artificial Intelligence and Legal Disruption’ , and has convened ‘Law and Policy for Existential Risks’ at the Bachelor’s level. He runs a range of eclectic PhD Courses, including: ‘Innovation and Disruption in Legal Research’, ‘Models of Legal Disruption’, and 'Ignorance, Agnotology, and Uncertainty: Drivers for Doctoral Research’. He is also the coordinator of the Artificial Intelligence and Legal Disruption Research Group (AI-LeD) at the Faculty. He is happy to supervise strong Master’s dissertation projects, and brilliant PhD theses in these areas like those of Matthijs Maas and Sue Anne Teo.

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