By Abdullah Alqalawi
There are several phenomena that make it difficult to distinguish legal boundaries with respect to artificial intelligence (AI) and its growing involvement in different fields, including robotics. If we compare, from a temporal point of view, the speed at which AI is developing and its very rapidly changing economic interest, with the legal issues with which AI is confronting us, they do not seem to be mutually synchronized. It is difficult to set the limits of what can constitute an infringement of the rights of individuals or consumers and of possible risks whatever. It is therefore a mismatch in terms of actions and regulations: society is failing in the face of the unpredictable concerning the possible problems posed by AI applied in all areas. We know that its developments cover a wide range of applications in the civil field, including medical, educational (e-learning), personal care, drones, etc.
The rise of AI in the medical field is designed to create proximity to health actors and expected services, which is not without consequences. AI used for medical diagnostic purposes, when faced with a treatment of variability and uniqueness in terms of complex medical data, finds its primary reason, that is to say repetitiveness. It loses its ability to deal with variable parameters in diagnostic analyses, especially in the face of difficult disease cases, which only human intelligence is capable of dealing with the complexity of existing medical knowledge in order to determine an elaborate medical question. In this case, we are talking about a Man/Machine rapprochement and a collaborative AI, but which has its limits (1). Thus AI is autonomous in a known environment, designed to perform specific tasks, which excludes unexpected variability (Ibid.: 33).
The question of the contribution of AI to economics and technological advancement and its impact on the sectors concerned often takes precedence over the unforeseeable consequences from an ethical and legal point of view. Real-world AI reduces the costs of many business activities. The development of AI and robotization raises the debate on the place of humans at work and their replacement for questions of profitability and efficiency. But the constraints that this system foreshadows in a market and service context trample on labor law and its application in order to guarantee a minimum of human rights (2). However, the European rules of civil law on robotics in relation to AI (Texts of the European Parliament 2014-2019) stipulate in its general principles by article 3 that the development of robotic technology should above all aim to supplement the capabilities human and not replace it. This technological evolution primarily pushed for economic reasons does not sufficiently define the limits that the involvement of AI and robotics can reach in various sectors of activity. It is also a question of employment which may be threatened. The expansion of AI and its integration into robotics is such that no one can predict its evolution and its limits, and therefore its legitimacy.
We know that highly developed algorithms in an opaque system make it possible to enter into a machine/human interaction which leads to recognition of the typical profile, traits and cognitive tendencies from human activities and decisions made through an interface managed by AI. . This collects user data and interacts with it. These are socio-cultural data and their qualities that this technology uses without an individual’s knowledge in various cases, in particular through commercial sites (e-Commerce).
To illustrate a common practice in this logic, we know that when an Internet user navigates in any merchant site, cookies appear to identify the user during his search, allowing the behavior of this user to be recorded on a server. . Thus all these traces can be shared by different companies, and used for commercial purposes. Now, AI is already happening on retail shelves. It can be a process where artificial intelligence is for example used through facial recognition to capture the behaviors of a customer in a store. In short, if a consumer lingers for a certain time in front of a product – a mixer for example – this information will be stored to be used during his next visit.
Very often, this system generates harm that affects the rights and freedoms of individuals in terms of confidentiality (2). Thus Article 14 of the European civil law rules on robotics at the level of artificial intelligence recommends that particular attention should be given to systems which represent a serious threat to confidentiality, due to their location in spaces traditionally protected and private and their capacities for extracting and transmitting information on personal and sensitive data (3).
This right in principle is reassuring in the ideal but on the ground is impossible to practice on the strict legal level in an opaque system such as that of AI, except in proven and proven cases but difficult to reach. Thus civil liability for damage caused by robots/AI is a crucial question which must be examined and which must be answered at Union level (Article 49). However, it will be difficult to apply this responsibility in daily practice, all sectors combined, if we do not rely on a regulatory charter for the control of each AI entity. The risk is to arrive at a universe that is difficult to control.
It can be seen that there are not enough clear and specific legal rules that make it possible to set the limits of the use of AI in the civil and private sectors, or even in research. All in all, the trend is moving towards optimizing performance and benefits in an industrial process or civil or military application, the risks of which seem to us to date disproportionate to the benefits.
(1) Nathanaël Jarrassé, Franck Damour and Nathalie Sarthou-Lajus: Robotics and the myth of the “augmented man” SER Studies 2018 / 2 February | pages 31 to 42
(2) Celine Castets-Renard, What are the impacts of artificial intelligence on the professions of law and journalism?University Institute of France, 2018.
(3) Civil law rules on robotics, European Parliament resolution of 16 February 2017 with recommendations to the Commission on civil law rules on robotics (2015/2103(INL)) UF), 2018. European Parliament 2014 -2019 texts adopted
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