TECHNOLOGY, OUTSOURCING, AND COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS
NEWS FOR LAWYERS AND SOURCING PROFESSIONALS
In October 2021, it was announced that Facebook would formally change its name to Meta as part of an ambitious new initiative called the “metaverse”—a convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual reality in a shared online space. Shortly after this announcement, we wrote a blog post, A Brief Overview of the Metaverse and the Legal Challenges It Will Present. Since then, metaverse trends have experienced phenomenal growth, with the emergence of new immersive virtual reality and collaborative spaces for human interactions, transactions, and data exchanges on decentralized networks.
The Stanford Institute for Human Centered Artificial Intelligence recently published its AI Index Report 2022. In a world of near-constant advancement and innovation in technology, it’s no surprise the report found that more global artificial intelligence (AI) legislation was proposed in 2021 than ever before.
The Bank of England (Bank) and the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published their final report of discussions from the UK Artificial Intelligence Public-Private Forum on February 17. Over quarterly meetings and several workshops conducted since October 2020, the Bank and the FCA jointly facilitated dialogue between the public sector, the private sector, and academia in order to deepen their collective understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) and explore how to support the safe adoption of AI. This initiative was incorporated into the UK National AI Strategy.
Broad awareness has been made about cyberattacks in the form of phishing that typically use email messages to lure victims into divulging sensitive information or opening a link that allows malware to infiltrate their device. Companies have learned how to combat phishing by training employees to recognize such scam attempts and report them as phishing to protect their organizations. “Vishing” is another tactic used by scammers that, while less familiar, is no less invasive and dangerous.
Companies are transforming legacy systems, implementing automation and artificial intelligence tools, embedding digital capabilities into their products, shifting to cloud solutions and leveraging technology to better connect to their customers, personnel, and third parties, all at an unprecedented pace. The focus on businesses to get to market faster, reach a broader audience and provide real-time interaction has in turn put pressure on legal and sourcing documents to keep up. The complexity and volume of the numbers of projects (and contracts) can be daunting — especially for companies that have not yet elevated the importance of the technology law function within their organizations.
Over the last year, companies implemented new digital technology solutions at record levels, looking to implement emerging technologies, improve the user digital experience, leverage cloud solutions to store the massive amounts of data being generated, and test the waters on how to transact using digital assets. And we don’t see things slowing down.
If you are just wrapping your head around the concepts of virtual reality and augmented reality, it may be time to get past the learning curve, as more technology companies are talking about creating the “metaverse.”

On September 2, 2021, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) motion for summary judgement, finding that an artificial intelligence (AI) system cannot be named as an inventor on a patent.

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced on September 8 that the Department of Commerce established a high-level committee to advise the federal government on a range of issues related to artificial intelligence (AI) and the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative (the Initiative).
The United Kingdom’s Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF) on March 10 announced in its 2021–2022 workplan that the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will join as a full member from April 1, 2021.