Ona Oshen

PhD Candidate
Ona Oshen photo
Dissertation Title
The International Legal Regulation and Internalization of Artificial Intelligence: Norms, Practices and Transnationality

I have an educational background in regulatory law, which laid the foundation for my early roles in research. My initial foray had me exploring legal frameworks that governed the conduct of HIV vaccine trials on humans. My subsequent research role was in the Digital Media and Electronic Communications Practice of a law firm. There, my work served clients in the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors, which introduced me to the realm of technology regulation. Interested in understanding the operational, financial, and strategic aspects of business decisions, especially in a regulated environment, I pursued an MPhil in Management at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. The skills I acquired from my graduate studies in regulatory law and management were vital during my professional experiences in Johannesburg (South Africa), New York (USA), Lagos (Nigeria), and Toronto (Canada). Observing the ubiquity of artificial intelligence (”AI”), and the discourse around its advantages and potential risks, I was motivated to undertake PhD research. My focus is on exploring the prospects for regulation and governance of AI, particularly under international law.


My research is positioned at the intersection of AI and international law. AI, a transformative technology, offers vast opportunities but also presents risks. It has been positively applied in various fields, including, but not limited to, education, environment, finance, healthcare, and security. However, the potential for its misuse, whether due to actions of malicious actors or as a result of irresponsible technology development, poses threats, including those to human rights and national security. As the applications of AI often transcend jurisdictional borders, there is a crucial need to understand not only how domestic law is responding to its effects but also how international law is evolving in response. This understanding could illustrate how this revolutionary technology is affecting the world and, consequently, the international legal order. It could also assist in the identification of problems and prospects, and inform the direction that global AI governance should take.

The primary objectives of my research are thus two-fold. First, I aim to investigate the extent to which, within the tapestry of international law, any norms and practices have emerged, changed, or been eroded in response to AI. Second, I will examine, in reverse, the extent to which international law is enabling, limiting, or otherwise impacting the design, development, and deployment of AI.