“Pernicious traits are to do with human nature. The biggest is a complete absence of self-knowledge.”
Michael Kirby is a former high court judge, who led a UN inquiry into North Korean human rights abuses and has been a member of numerous international bodies, focused on AIDS, HIV and human rights. In a free-ranging interview, Kirby describes how he was able to encourage intervention in an emerging HIV epidemic in Cambodia through “persistence, principle, determination and just making yourself a bit difficult”.
His work has led him to the world of bioethics and transborder data flows, which placed him at the intersection of the law and some of humanity’s most exciting technological developments. “Fundamentally, it was the impact of science and technology on the old-fashioned law”, which he says is a major challenge for global institutions and the future of democracy.