CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Diamantis on AI Injury

Mihailis Diamantis (University of Iowa - College of Law) has posted Who Pays for AI Injury? on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Algorithms hurt people everyday. Are such injuries just regrettable externalities of technological progress that victims should be left to bear? Or should someone else be civilly or criminally liable for the injury? The law does not always provide an answer, which can leave innocent victims holding the bag. Traditional doctrines condition liability on faulty conduct from a human agent, but we are now entering a phase of technological and economic progress where the people involved might be doing everything they should, and it is the machines that are misbehaving. The trouble is that machines are not cognizable legal actors.

This short paper turns to corporate law for a solution. While algorithms are not legal actors, the corporations that develop and run them are. The law should recognize that corporations act through the algorithms over which they have beneficial control. Then the social control that the law exercises over corporate harm would come to bear on algorithmic harm too.

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