Law and Artificial Intelligence - How well do they mix?

SEP 01, 2021

Image Credit: Freepik

When talking about disruptive technologies, few stand out more than artificial intelligence. AI and machine learning respectively (they're sometimes used interchangeably) have made quite an impact ever since the concept was only in philosophical form.

But leaving aside what such technologies can do for programmers, end-users, and all techies alike, there are certain aspects about them that rarely get discussed. One of them is the implication that AI has for the law and everything else associated with legislation. Let's see what we can learn from this topic.

What We Know About AI

The truth is that we don't know all that much about artificial intelligence. Sure, everyone understands the basic gist, but no one, not even top programmers, can fully understand the extent of its capabilities or what we will be able to achieve with it in the near future.

There are some issues that have already been raised regarding AI, with the invasion of privacy being oftentimes the top discussion on this subject. To put it simply, artificial intelligence grows much faster than the law can realistically keep up. So far, the only thing we know for sure is that AI has made it much easier for programmers and companies to ship new software updates.

The algorithm's learning patterns are becoming better with each iteration, and there might only be a few years from now that self-driving cars, for instance, will become more commonplace than all the other vehicle models you've known your entire life. Speaking of which, let's see what might happen in an imaginary scenario.

Different Scenarios Regarding the Law and Artificial Intelligence

If indeed, in a few years, self-driving cars will become commonplace, then the implications regarding laws are as complicated as they can get. What happens in case of an accident if two self-driving cars are involved? Or if there's a self-driving car and one classic car, but the accident is caused by the self-driving one?

Questions like these can put a Georgia car crash lawyer to tears, especially given the current legal climate there. Who knows what the future might hold if this scenario comes to life. Furthermore, what if the AI eventually becomes sentient? That can make the legislation even more complicated, especially in the scenario where the AI purposefully commits vehicular manslaughter.

Another relevant scenario is the one in which your gadgets use AI algorithms to spy on you. Granted, this already happens to a certain extent, and laws are being passed all over the world to counteract this as much as possible. However, as with all things law-related, there are bound to be loopholes that companies and ill-intentioned individuals will exploit.

Source: Freepik

The Problem of Being More Artificial Than Intelligent

On the opposite end of the spectrum lies a problem that's halting programmers in place. And legislators don't know exactly how to regulate such happenings either. Yes, artificial intelligence is smart enough to recognize shapes and colors, but it heavily relies on cameras and can be disrupted quite easily.

For example, there was one case where an AI was fooled by a sheet of paper with text. What happens if someone fools your AI intentionally and causes immense revenue loss? How do you determine if the AI was intentionally fooled or if it was accidental?

These questions bother lawmakers and developers alike. Pair this fact with what we've talked about in the initial paragraphs, and you can start to imagine just how hard it is to make laws around an ever-evolving artificial entity.

Artificial Laws for Artificial Intelligence

At the end of the day, how well do the two concepts mix? Well, it's complicated. In theory, things should be simple. But in practice, given the complexity of existing laws, adapting the legislation to fit the context of AI is hard. Really hard.

In any case, we can only imagine what scenarios might happen in the future. All we can really do is wait and adapt depending on the context. Because context seems to matter more and more in a world where technology is taking over every aspect of our lives.

Author Bio: Sarah Douglas has been passionate about all things related to law ever since she picked up her mother's gavel. Her in-depth knowledge of the legal field and previous work experience has given her a unique perspective on writing, which she considers a means to help and connect with others.

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