The dawn of a new decade brings with it the promise of innovation and technological advancements with a focus on the enhancement of the human experience. H.S. Kim coined the phrase the 'Age of Experience' during his keynote speech at the CES Conference earlier this week. But how does innovation in the Age of Experience flourish within the current regulatory environment and consumer mistrust of corporate's use of personal data?  

New technologies that have so far been unveiled at the CES Conference have painted a (no so far off) future of smart integrated homes, autonomous travel and a world where Artificial Intelligence is used to solve social, administrative and healthcare problems.  Schneider Electronic's 'Square D Connected Home' suite and the Royole Corporation's 'Mirage Smart Speaker' (enabled by Amazon Alexa) are examples of innovation to enhance the home experience.  Many other innovations show a world of interconnection fuelled by shared data.  Of particular interest was Toyota's showcase of the 'Woven City', where Toyota intend to test out technologies of the future in a real 'prototype city of the future'.  The question remains, how can consumers embrace these new technologies without a transparent reassurance that their privacy and data will be protected? 

Inevitably with all these new innovations, legal questions arise around privacy, data protection and liability (in the case of increased reliance on artificial intelligence).  These questions are currently being explored, notably in the European Commission's report on 'Liability for Artificial Intelligence and other emerging digital technologies' and the UK's Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation's recent 'Snapshot Series'.  However, the answers and solutions are not yet clear.  Regulators and governments are exploring how to encourage innovation and ensure the benefits of AI and other technologies are realised while protecting the rights of consumers.      

Effective regulation requiring businesses to be transparent about their use of consumer data and implementing mechanisms that enhance consumer control over their data would be a good place to start.  Previously, we have questioned whether the current regulations are sufficient to protect consumer rights in the face of new technologies.  While I am eager to watch the innovation of the next decade, I just hope there will be lawyers living in the Woven City to ensure a harmonious development of technology and the protection of consumer rights.