Law firm and IoD call for lawmakers to tackle AI

AI will be highly significant for law and policy and for the practice of law

Law firm Chapman Tripp and the Institute of Directors have produced a white paper calling on Government to take the lead in addressing opportunities, risks and challenges presented by artificial intelligence, by forming a working group.

Chapman Tripp partner Bruce McClintock said the legal implications of AI would be highly significant for law and policy and for the practice of law, and lawyers would have an important role in helping policymakers adapt existing laws and regulations.

“The Chapman Tripp and IoD white paper is a call to action for Government to form a working group to consider the implications of AI for New Zealand,” McClintock said.

“The Ministry of Transport has started working on safety standards and conditions for the operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads. Lawyers and policymakers will also need to consider whether legal regimes should be introduced or adapted – for example, to control the use of AI image recognition systems for surveillance systems and for medical radiography, or AI share trading systems that automatically execute trades on our stock markets.”

Earlier this month it was announced that the University of Canterbury and Christchurch Airport would stage the first New Zealand trial of a fully autonomous vehicle, at the airport, in early 2017.

McClintock said: “AI technologies will also impact on workplace safety, requiring directors and organisations to consider how these technologies should be introduced and managed from a health and safety perspective.

“Initially, AI requires us to consider and adapt regulation in specific domains, such as for autonomous vehicles in transportation, or robotic medicine in healthcare. Over time, we will have to wrestle with the implications of AI for core legal principles like legal responsibility, agency and causation.”

McClintock cited the case in the ‘flash crash’ of the US stockmarket in 2010, where algorithmic trading systems caused a $US1 trillion crash and rebound, as demonstrating the unexpected outcomes of robotic technologies.

“It is this unpredictability that generates issues around foreseeability, causation and fault,” McClintock said. “While not a case for legal fault in that instance, it points to some of the issues we will see. It may be unfair to hold designers at fault for systems that act unpredictably but that could mean victims are left with no recourse for compensation.”

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