AI and product liability: who is responsible for artificial intelligence?

According to my forecast, anyone who wants to wait for a legally stable and predictable state of business in terms of AI use will no longer have to read such articles before the end of the 2020s. Even some of the statements made here are likely to be reinterpreted at one point or another at the end of this year.

If you don’t let that put you off, you will find that legal security around artificial intelligence (AI) and its production and use is a problem for everyone involved. Nevertheless, guard rails already exist today, on which current and future considerations can be based.

First, some terminology needs to be clarified. Artificial intelligence is often understood as self-learning. However, it is far from being autonomous in its decisions. Conversely, not all autonomously decisive systems are self-learning: That would certainly not be in the interest of many road users in an autonomous vehicle. If you read political concepts for dealing with artificial intelligence, you will often find that artificial intelligence is very often autonomously and self-learning. From the practitioners’ point of view, this is not correct, but it does explain the resulting regulatory ideas.

Due to the mandatory acceptance of self-learning mechanisms, the question of the data used, which are also used as learning material, is always of legal interest. A lot of legislative thoughts revolve around this, especially from an ethical point of view such as discrimination and, of course, data protection. However, these ethical aspects do not play a role in the following considerations, since as a manufacturer and operator of AI it is a matter of knowing about the existing legal framework.

The search for such regulations quickly leads to the result, but it is just as quickly sobering: Neither in Germany nor in the EU is there a legal basis that regulates the production and operation of AI even to a limited extent. There are several projects in which this topic is politically driven; In Germany, for example, the Bundestag’s Study Commission will present its final report this year. The European Commission has already done so in a white paper earlier this year. These regulations show, at least in part, which intellectual direction legislators will take in the future.