Artificial Cosmoi and the Law

Thursday 27 July 2017, 09:00 - 18:20

EPLO, 2 Polygnotou and Dioskouron St., Plaka, Athens 1055.

A conference organised by the UCL Centre for Law, Economics & Society (CLES), IMEDIPA and the European Public Law Organisation (EPLO)

Convened by

Professor Ioannis Lianos,
Director, Centre for Law, Economics and Society, UCL 

with
Dr. George Dimitropoulos
HBKU Law


With the kind sponsorship of

This conference will foster lively debate between scholars from various disciplines and practitioners on the interaction between Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, robots, virtual reality and algorithmic decision-making – the ‘artificial cosmoi’, and the legal system.

The recently published ‘One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence’ identifies a number of areas of human activity that are and will likely be affected by AI in the near future.[1] But the law is conspicuously slow in adapting to the needs of society and in particular to the development of new technologies. Law usually reacts to societal changes, but it, moreover, usually has a restricting function: it prohibits rather than enables certain types of activities. Both features of law make it a rather poor instrument to deal with the cataclysmic changes that the rapid developments in the technologies of Artificial Intelligence will be bringing about in the not too distant future. These will touch upon all aspects of social life, from issues of employment and intellectual creation, or more generally the creation of resources, to new modes of data and AI-driven governance, and will affect multiple environments reaching from the streets and hospitals to the battlefield. If it is for the law to remain relevant, it will have to rapidly adapt to these challenges so as not to move from the epicenter to the periphery of social activity. A possible, mostly reactive, approach will be to design legal rules mitigating the risks arising from the recourse to Artificial Intelligence and the development of artificial cosmoi, but also to take advantage of algorithms and AI in achieving the objectives of the law. The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament recently proposed the establishment of a European Agency for robotics and artificial intelligence in order to supply public authorities with technical, ethical and regulatory expertise, and the setting of common European Union rules to be adopted on a voluntary basis to regulate issues of liability for the social, environmental and human health impacts of robotics in order to ensure that they operate in accordance with legal, safety and ethical standards – eventually by also considering the creation of a specific legal status for robots as ‘electronic persons’;[2] this illustrates the increasing interest of legislators and regulators in the various societal, legal and ethical risks raised by AI and associated technologies. However, beyond this reactive approach, how should legal epistemology be re-conceived so as to fully engage with the ‘structuration’ of the emerging ‘artificial cosmoi’?

[1] Peter Stone et al..  ‘Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030’. One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence: Report of the 2015-2016 Study Panel, Stanford University, Stanford, CA,  September 2016, available at: http://ai100.stanford.edu/2016-report.

[2] Study available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML%2BCOMPARL%2BPE-582.443%2B01%2BDOC%2BPDF%2BV0//EN

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