Pauline Bomball started by pointing out that most gig economy workers are regraded as contractors and so do not receive employee entitlements. A court will decide if the worker is working in their own business, or that of the company.
Professor Peta Spender discussed crowd funding. One success was Flowhive, but Professor Spender pointed out that two third of crow funding campaigns fail to reach their funding target. Crowd funding can be for general community benefit (with ANU suggesting researchers should explore this option). The Ukraine is crowdfunding its army. Professor Spender expressed concern over a privatized welfare system with Go-fund-me having an "accidents and emergencies" area. Also there may be difficulties with unsophisticated investors in crowdfunding and possible fraud. Australia has laws to attempt to limit harmful outcomes but enforcement through class actions may not work (it occurs to me that class actions are a sort of crown funded legal case).
Professor Sally Wheeler, pointed out that technology had been accommodating contract law since the days of the telex (I suggest it actually goes back much further to the telegram). Despite a bad press from the dark web Professor Wheeler suggested that blockchain could be used positively for tracking a fish from catch to plate. Contracts are about trust, but are we trusting the blockchain technology or the business partner.
The question I put to the panel was how these developments will change what law academics do, in terms of research and education. Professor Spender pointed out that crowdfunding is already funding some ANU research and Professor Wheeler that teaching was already largely casualised.