Last Updated on 22.11.23 by Gemma Lingard
The realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Today, AI technology forms the backbone of various tools, gadgets, and solutions used across industries. The tools in the limelight currently are all the Large Language Models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard and others. These tools and others have already started to change the landscape of our society, affecting jobs, productivity, and laws.
As the adoption of AI expands, so does the myriad of legal issues surrounding it. In this short blog post, we’ll explore the legal implications associated with this incredible new technology.
The Current Landscape of AI Technology
Let’s be clear about what we’re talking about when we talk about AI products. This is a list that could go on forever. However, the market-ready AI products you’re most likely to run into in your everyday life include:
- Voice Assistants: Products like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri have become ubiquitous. These systems use natural language processing to interact with users.
- Recommender Systems: Widely used in online platforms like Netflix or Amazon, these AI systems suggest products or content based on user preferences.
- Facial Recognition Systems: Often used in security and social media platforms, these identify or verify individuals based on their facial features.
- Autonomous Vehicles: While not entirely mainstream yet, self-driving cars and drones operate using AI algorithms to navigate and make decisions.
- Health Monitoring Wearables: Devices like smartwatches employ AI to analyse health metrics and provide insights.
Large Language Models: The rise of large language models, like OpenAI’s GPT series, has revolutionised natural language processing. These models can understand and generate human-like text, enabling applications ranging from chatbots to content creation. By analysing vast amounts of textual data, they can assist in answering questions, drafting text, offering recommendations, and even aiding in research. Their accuracy and versatility have positioned them as a significant force in the AI landscape, reshaping how businesses and individuals interact with technology.
Understanding AI in Law
As AI grows and rapidly advances, legal systems and policy grapples to keep pace. Rather than being seen as unique legal entities, AI systems are currently categorised as personal assets – an important legal distinction. A comprehensive strategy spanning regulation, contracts, tort, and intellectual property rights is essential to navigate the new world AI has created.
Let’s get more specific about some of the ways AI is changing the legal landscape.
AI and Data Governance
Data serves as AI’s lifeblood, heightening the importance of safeguarding and ethical use. Although the Information Commissioner has stressed that AI does not qualify for special treatment under UK GDPR, it has acknowledged the specific risks AI poses. The ICO is pioneering efforts to ensure AI practices fairness, while also addressing emergent concerns like dark patterns and AI-powered recommendation engines. Furthermore, the ICO has unveiled informative documents such as AI Decision-making Explanations and AI’s Role in Data Protection. The realm of data rights and licensing is equally pivotal.
The global narrative sees governments debating the best practices for AI oversight. Key discussions revolve around defining AI’s protective functions, reimagining regulatory mechanisms, can existing regulatory structures be revised or do new ones need to be considered, and determining governmental roles.
The EU’s AI Strategy
The EU is at the forefront of AI legislative initiatives. The introduction of the AI Safety Act and the AI Compensation Framework underscores their commitment to creating a balanced ecosystem.
The UK’s AI Vision
While the UK doesn’t possess a blanket AI regulation, it has a blueprint that proposes guiding principles for sectoral AI governance, with a tilt towards fostering innovation.
Intellectual Rights and AI
The emergence of AI stirs the pot in the world of intellectual property. With AI now producing creative outputs, it’s crucial to delineate rights and responsibilities. Key concerns revolve around ownership of AI-created content and patent rights. Significantly, legal rulings in prominent jurisdictions like the UK, EU, and US assert the primacy of human inventors. While the UK mulled over amending IP laws in the AI era, they mostly opted for international consistency.
Tort Law Reimagined
Outside regulatory and statute law, AI’s rise necessitates a relook at the common law area of tort.. Questions arise about accountability for AI-driven systems, especially when it comes to statutory obligations. Legal considerations are paramount, especially when considering mobile AI entities like robots or autonomous cars.
Post-Brexit Legal Landscape
Following the Brexit transition after 31 January 2020, the UK is charting its own legal course. This has repercussions across areas like intellectual property, competitive practices, data stewardship, and broader commercial law. There is also the possibility that the UK goes its own way on law as it pertains to AI.
As this new technology expands, it’s imperative to understand the legal implications of AI. In this evolving landscape, Gorvins Solicitors is poised to offer guidance and expertise, ensuring that businesses and individuals navigate the AI era with clarity and confidence.