Artificial Intelligence and Legal Liability: The Problem

Rapid technological change and development has led to an era of complex Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and applications.[1].

One of the major problems we come across while giving AI legal recognition is that of liability. The entire premise of AI is to simulate human cognitive functions so as to display intelligence. This implies that AI programs will take decisions and function on their own without supervision in the near future (Unsupervised Learning). Therefore the workings of AI would be contained within a ‘blackbox’. There is currently no regulatory framework which answers this question applicable to a broad range of AI. Legal norms provide that the damages caused by unlawful actions of others must be compensated. Legal norms provide that the damage is to be compensated by the offender or a person who is responsible for the actions of the offender. In view of these legal regulations and the fact that AI is not the subject of law yet, a question arises: who is required to assume liability and compensate damages caused by the actions of AI?[2]There are multiple options ranging from insurer, product manufacturer, user, or even the AI itself.

Nature or cause of damage If so, who is liable?
Was damage caused when in use and were the instructions followed? Was the AI system provided with any general or specific limitations and were they communicated to the purchaser? User or owner?
Was the damage caused while the AI system was still learning? Developer or data
Was the AI system provided with open source software? Programmer?
Can the damage be traced back to the design or production
of the AI system, or was there an error in the implementation
by its user?
manufacturer or user?

Source:Gluyas, L. and Day, S. (2019). Artificial Intelligence – Who is liable when AI fails to perform?{}

[1]Siddiqi, A.A., 2012. Implications of using artificial intelligence technology in modern warfare. In Communications and Information Technology (ICCIT), 2012 International Conference (pp. 30-35).

[2]Čerka, P., Grigienė, J. and Sirbikytė, G., 2015.Liability for damages caused by artificial intelligence. Computer Law & Security Review31(3), pp.376-389.