Self-Driving Laws | Rule of Law Problems and the Machine Regulation Thesis
23 January 2019 • 16h30
Salon François-Chevrette, Faculté de droit, Pavillon Maximilien-Caron, Université de Montréal
Dans le cadre du cycle de conférences Jeunes chercheurs, la Chaire LexUM en information juridique accueille Katie Szilagyi, candidate au doctorat à l’Université d’Ottawa, qui présentera une conférence qui s’intitule « Self-Driving Laws — Rule of Law Problems and the Machine Regulation Thesis » (En anglais).
The spectre of artificial intelligence over the rule of law is readily apparent in proposals for “self-driving laws”: the idea that we might regulate society by machine. Some academics have posited an approaching “legal singularity”, in which legal knowledge becomes a complete data set and uncertainty is rendered obsolete. This perspective, I argue, misses an important point by assuming machines can necessarily outperform humans, without first questioning what such performance entails and whether machines can meaningfully be said to participate in the activities of interpreting and applying the law. Nor have these scholars asked what ideals we truly value in our legal system and what those ideals mean from a human standpoint.
In this discussion, I focus on how the rule of law is made vulnerable by technological innovations that take power previously delegated to administrative decision-makers and reassigned to machines. I argue that we need to interrogate the potential impacts of artificial intelligence innovations in the legal process, since their application and wide-ranging impacts might erode certain fundamental ideals.
Katie Szilagyi is a PhD candidate in law at the University of Ottawa. Drawing from training as both an engineer and a lawyer, she is investigating the potential erosion of the rule of law due to machine learning algorithms, predictive analytics, and the fact that people are constantly staring at their smartphones. Previously, she clerked at Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal, worked as a litigator at a large commercial law firm, and traveled the world solo. When not thinking about artificial intelligence, or staring at her smartphone, she teaches yoga, rides bicycles, and searches for the perfect cup of coffee.
This content has been updated on 15 January 2019 at 12 h 28 min.