Concept of Artificial intelligence

Every technological development has certain legal repercussions, which need to be taken into account, and safeguards need to be developed. For example Sophia, an AI robot developed by Hanson robotics, was given citizenship in Saudi Arabia. This has raised many legal issues pertaining to what can be considered as a citizen in today’s world, and whether the concept of Technological Singularity (Humans no longer will remain the smartest beings) could be attained without any harm caused to humans.

The main issue of Artificial Intelligence Law can be described using one word, ‘Regulation”. Artificial intelligence regulation isn’t just complex terrain, it’s uncharted territory for an age that is passing the baton from human leadership to machine learning emergence, automation, robotic manufacturing and deep learning reliance.[1]Any new development in technology requires certain regulation so as to ensure that the functioning of such technology is in conformity with the policies, existing laws, social norms, ethics and customs. Artificial Intelligence also requires such regulation. There is not only a need for negative regulation, but also such policy which would help in the development and application of AI technology.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who believes AI will “allow us to produce a lot more goods and services with less labor,” foresees labor force dislocations and has suggested a robot tax. Tesla’s Elon Musk, who believes AI presents a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization,” calls for proactive regulation “before it is too late.”[2]

AI is going to be the tipping point in technological evolution of mankind, with human dependence on machines and algorithms for decision making never been such deep. Thus, any strategy document on promoting AI, necessarily needs to be conscious of the probable factors of the AI ecosystem that may undermine ethical conduct, impinge on one’s privacy and undermine the security protocol. Appropriate steps to mitigate these risks need to be an integral part of any such strategy.[3]As a society, we are now at a crucial juncture in determining how to deploy AI-based technologies in ways that promote, not hinder, democratic values such as freedom, equality, and transparency.[4]

As a transformative technology, AI has the potential to challenge any number of legal assumptions in the short, medium, and long term. Precisely how law and policy will adapt to advances in AI; and how AI will adapt to values reflected in law and policy depends on a variety of social, cultural, economic, and other factors, and is likely to vary by jurisdiction.[5]

Recently the first MIT AI Policy Congress featuring seven panel discussions sprawling across a variety of AI applications was held. There were 25 speakers — including two former White House chiefs of staff, former cabinet secretaries, homeland security and defense policy chiefs, industry and civil society leaders, and leading researchers.Their shared focus: ‘how to harness the opportunities that AI is creating — across areas including transportation and safety, medicine, labor, criminal justice, and national security — while vigorously confronting challenges, including the potential for social bias, the need for transparency, and misteps that could stall AI innovation while exacerbating social problems in the United States and around the world.’[6]

The main challenge of developing policies, guidelines, and legal regulations, is that they should have the ability to control the development and functioning of such technologies while ensuring that the progress of development of AI is not hampered with (to a large extent) or completely derailed. There should be a balance between restrictions and opportunities. AI has unquantifiable limits and potential, but in order to realize this potential, the challenges associated with AI development have to be addressed.

Artificial Intelligence is being used to accomplish previously unimaginable tasks in the field of healthcare, education, marketing, etc.Do these applications really make human society more efficient, better, or safer? Or is AI rather a looming menace that will ultimately destroy mankind?[7] A lot depends on how we handle the historic opportunity to shape these potent, emerging technologies — a question that is acquiring increasing practical importance in view of the rapidly growing number of machine-human interactions thanks to recent breakthroughs in AI (in particular in machine learning).[8]

There is currently a large legal vacuum present when it comes to artificial intelligence. However policymakers around the world are beginning to address AI policy challenges. Canada, China, Japan, the UK, the US, and the EU have launched strategies to promote the development and commercialization of AI with a view to maintain sustained economic competitiveness after the inevitable global transition to an AI-driven economy.[9] Even in India NITI AYOG has published a “National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence” in June, 2018.

Therefore the main concept behind Artificial Intelligence Law is to research on and contribute to ensuring that Artificial Intelligence continues to grow, while imposing such restrictions as are required for keeping such technology within the confines of ethics, justice, social norms, values and reasonableness.


[1]Spencer, M. (2019). Artificial Intelligence Regulation May Be Impossible. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2019/03/02/artificial-intelligence-regulation-will-be-impossible/#12c8fd9111ed [Accessed 24 May 2019].

[2]Belton, K. (2019). How Should AI Be Regulated?. [online] IndustryWeek. Available at: https://www.industryweek.com/technology-and-iiot/how-should-ai-be-regulated [Accessed 24 May 2019].

[3]NitiAayog, National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, June 2018

[4]Stone, P., Brooks, R., Brynjolfsson, E., Calo, R., Etzioni, O., Hager, G., Hirschberg, J., Kalyanakrishnan, S., Kamar, E., Kraus, S. and Leyton-Brown, K., 2016. Artificial intelligence and life in 2030.One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence: Report of the 2015-2016 Study Panel.

[5] Ibid.

[6]Dizikes, P. (2019). AI, the law, and our future.

[online]

MIT News. Available at: http://news.mit.edu/2019/first-ai-policy-congress-0118 [Accessed 23 May 2019].

[7]Kohli, S. (2015). Bill Gates joins Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking in saying artificial intelligence is scary. [online] Quartz. Available at: https://qz.com/335768/bill-gates-joins-elon-musk-and-stephen-hawking-in-saying-artificial-intelligence-is-scary/ [Accessed 24 May 2019].

[8]Erdélyi, O.J. and Goldsmith, J., 2018, December.Regulating artificial intelligence: Proposal for a global solution.In Proceedings of the 2018 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (pp. 95-101).ACM.

[9]Viola, R. (2017). The future of robotics and artificial intelligence in Europe – Digital Single Market – European Commission.

[online]

Digital Single Market – European Commission. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/blog/future-robotics-and-artificial-intelligence-europe [Accessed 24 May 2019].