AI Student Commentary

October 11, 2019

In October, CLCT Graduate Research Fellows Alex Ashrafi, Taylor Lain, and Scott Meyer became our first publications of the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Alex Ashrafi, a 3L, discusses how courts may potentially utilize blockchain to secure evidence, as well as the challenges facing courts when parties attempt to introduce blockchain ledgers as evidence. Alex delves into the Federal Rules of Evidence to discuss whether blockchain can be considered self-authenticating under Rule 902, and discusses the new evidence rules in Vermont as a case study of how states are dealing with these challenging questions. You can read Alex’s commentary here [PDF].

Taylor Lain, a 2L and Cyberjustice Laboratory Fellow at CLCT, explores the use of emoji in sentiment analysis, “the field of study that analyzes people’s opinions, sentiments, evaluations, attitudes, and emotions from a text.” Through the use of algorithms, investigators can more accurately and rapidly identify emotionally-charged content; however, while combining emoji-meaning polarity with this technology could be used to identify threats, it may also come at a societal cost, and constitutional challenges must be considered. You can read Taylor’s commentary here [PDF].

Scott Meyer, a 2L, gives a holistic discussion of how blockchain works, as well as legal and practical challenges presented by the technology, and limitations in its use. This primer discusses the blockchain mining process, where it can go wrong, and how ledgers are validated. It concludes with practical concerns stemming from the use of blockchain technology. You can read Scott’s commentary here [PDF].

Author BiosAI Commentary Authors (from left to right): Scott Meyer, Taylor Lain, and Alex Ashrafi

Alex Ashrafi graduated from Rutgers University with a B.S. in Biotechnology & Bioinformatics. He then worked as a software developer designing and coding business management platforms for large chemical companies. He is primarily interested in working in civil litigation after law school.

Taylor Lain is a 2015 graduate of the College of William & Mary, and holds a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. Upon graduation, she applied her technical expertise for two years as a Quality Assurance (QA) Analyst for Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Williamsburg Brewery. In addition to her extracurricular activities in law school, she is a McGlothlin Scholar. 

Scott Meyer graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa in 2014, with a joint major in Accounting and Information Systems and a minor in Computer Science. After graduating, he moved to Washington, D.C., and worked as an IT Strategy Consultant with Accenture. During his four years with Accenture, Scott worked with many clients in hospitality, insurance, telecommunications, healthcare, energy, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals industries.