Lobel on The Law of AI for Good

Orly Lobel (U San Diego Law) has posted “The Law of AI for Good” on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Legal policy and scholarship are increasingly focused on regulating technology to safeguard against risks and harms, neglecting the ways in which the law should direct the use of new technology, and in particular artificial intelligence (AI), for positive purposes. This article pivots the debates about automation, finding that the focus on AI wrongs is descriptively inaccurate, undermining a balanced analysis of the benefits, potential, and risks involved in digital technology. Further, the focus on AI wrongs is normatively and prescriptively flawed, narrowing and distorting the law reforms currently dominating tech policy debates. The law-of-AI-wrongs focuses on reactive and defensive solutions to potential problems while obscuring the need to proactively direct and govern increasingly automated and datafied markets and societies. Analyzing a new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, the Biden administration’s 2022 AI Bill of Rights and American and European legislative reform efforts, including the Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2022, the Data Privacy and Protection Act of 2022, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the new draft EU AI Act, the article finds that governments are developing regulatory strategies that almost exclusively address the risks of AI while paying short shrift to its benefits. The policy focus on risks of digital technology is pervaded by logical fallacies and faulty assumptions, failing to evaluate AI in comparison to human decision-making and the status quo. The article presents a shift from the prevailing absolutist approach to one of comparative cost-benefit. The role of public policy should be to oversee digital advancements, verify capabilities, and scale and build public trust in the most promising technologies.

A more balanced regulatory approach to AI also illuminates tensions between current AI policies. Because AI requires better, more representative data, the right to privacy can conflict with the right to fair, unbiased, and accurate algorithmic decision-making. This article argues that the dominant policy frameworks regulating AI risks—emphasizing the right to human decision-making (human-in-the-loop) and the right to privacy (data minimization)—must be complemented with new corollary rights and duties: a right to automated decision-making (human-out-of-the-loop) and a right to complete and connected datasets (data maximization). Moreover, a shift to proactive governance of AI reveals the necessity for behavioral research on how to establish not only trustworthy AI, but also human rationality and trust in AI. Ironically, many of the legal protections currently proposed conflict with existing behavioral insights on human-machine trust. The article presents a blueprint for policymakers to engage in the deliberate study of how irrational aversion to automation can be mitigated through education, private-public governance, and smart policy design.