- Property Law
- Privacy Law
- Law & Technology
- Artificial Intelligence
Dr. Katie Szilagyi joined the Faculty of Law as an Assistant Professor in 2021, and brings to her first alma mater of the University of Manitoba, an unprecedented research focus on Law and Technology. Having a background in Biosystems Engineering with a Bachelor of Science degree from UM (2008), she received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Ottawa in 2012, completing joint specializations in Law and Technology and International Law. She then clerked at the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa and practiced commercial litigation at a large national firm in Toronto. She earned her LLM degree, specializing in Law and Technology, at Tel Aviv University in 2017. She returned to the University of Ottawa for her doctoral studies, which were supported by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and the uOttawa Excellence Award. During her doctoral studies, she was selected as a 2019 Global Fellow of the Institute of Technology and Society in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Since joining the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Szilagyi successfully defended her PhD dissertation entitled “Artificial Intelligence and the Machine-ation of the Rule of Law” on October 7, 2022, with no revisions. She argued that the Rule of Law is made vulnerable by technological innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that take power previously delegated to legal decision-makers and put it in the hands of machines. In her abstract, she asserts that “we need to interrogate the potential impacts of AI and ML in law: without careful scrutiny, AI and ML’s wide-ranging impacts might erode certain fundamental ideals. Our constitutional democratic framework is dependent upon the Rule of Law: upon a contiguous narrative thread linking past legal decisions to our future lives. Yet, incursions by AI and ML into legal process—including algorithms and automation; profiling and prediction—threaten longstanding legal precepts in state law and constraints against abuses of power by private actors.”
Dr. Szilagyi’s research is innovative and interdisciplinary. She has published and presented on the transformative impacts of blockchain technology on the legal landscape, as well as the international humanitarian law implications of autonomous weapons systems on the battlefield. She is affiliated with collaborative and cross-cultural research networks, such as the Canadian Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Ethical Design Lab (CRAiEDL) and the Open African Innovation Research Network (OpenAIR), having published an interdisciplinary paper with a team of authors from the latter in Smart Agricultural Technology Vol 3, February 2023.
Recently, she won an interdisciplinary research grant from the Faculty of Science with Dr. Jim Young from Computer Science to work on a project about the ethics of social robotics. The scholars employed a master’s student from computer science and a JD student from Robson Hall to collaborate on the research, which is ongoing. Dr. Szilagyi also obtained funding from a local digital agriculture startup, EMILI (the Enterprise Machine Intelligence & Learning Initiative), to support student researchers in an interdisciplinary project to provide a legal primer on the challenges associated with smart agriculture for farmers and producers. For this ongoing project, her students investigated privacy policies, reviewed consumer approaches to big data, and drafted preliminary language for the report.