Ian Kerr (academic)

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Ian R. Kerr is a Canadian academic who is recognized as an international expert in emerging law and technology issues. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law, and Technology at the University of Ottawa.[1]

Kerr teaches contracts as well as an upper-year seminar offered in Puerto Rico each January. Entitled TechnoRico, the seminar deals with technology law issues of global importance. His devotion to teaching has earned six awards and citations, including the Bank of Nova Scotia Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Award of Teaching Excellence, and the University of Ottawa’s AEECLSS Teaching Excellence Award. He is currently[when?] teaching a seminar course on the philosophical, ethical & legal implications of robots and society entitled, "The Robotic Laws".

Kerr studied at the University of Alberta and the University of Western Ontario.

In addition to co-authoring the widely used business law text, Managing the Law (co-authored by Mitchell McInnes, Anthony VanDuzer, and Chi Carmody), he has published in the areas of ethical and legal aspects of digital copyright, automated electronic commerce, artificial intelligence, cybercrime, nanotechnology, internet regulation, ISP and intermediary liability, online defamation, pre-natal injuries and unwanted pregnancies. His current program of research includes two large projects: (i) On the Identity Trail, focusing on the impact of information and authentication technologies on our identity and our right to be anonymous; and (ii) An Examination of Digital Copyright, focusing on various aspects of the current effort to reform Canadian copyright legislation, including the implications of such reform on fundamental Canadian values including privacy and freedom of expression.

Professor Kerr is also the originator of Kerr’s Postulate, which states that in any discussion of law and technology, the longer a discussion continues the probability of including a reference to The Matrix approaches one. Kerr’s Postulate is a play on Godwin's Law stemming from academic research on the man/machine merger and artificial intelligence.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Ottawa, he held a joint appointment in the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Information & Media Studies and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario.


  • Managing the Law: Legal Aspects of Doing Business, a law textbook for business students.
  • Lessons from the Identity Trail: Anonymity, Privacy and Identity in a Networked Society, edited by Ian Kerr, Carole Lucock, and Valerie Steeves
  • Robot Law, edited by Ryan Calo, A. Michael Froomkin, and Ian Kerr


  1. ^ Chairholder profile, Canada Research Chairs, retrieved 2009-10-01.

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