Keeping AI Legal

14 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2016 Last revised: 19 Jan 2017

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Oren Etzioni

Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Date Written: February 2, 2016


AI programs make numerous decisions on their own, lack transparency, and may change frequently. Hence, the article shows, unassisted human agents — such as auditors, accountants, inspectors, and police — cannot ensure that AI guided instruments will abide by the law. Human agents need assistance of AI oversight programs that analyze and oversee the operational AI programs. The article then asks whether operational AI programs should be programmed to enable human users to override them — without that such a move would undermine the legal order. The article next points out that AI operational programs provide very high surveillance capacities, and that hence AI oversight programs are essential for protecting individual rights in the cyber age. The article closes by discussing the argument that AI guided instruments, e.g. robots, lead to endangering much more than the legal order — that they may turn on their makers, or even destroy humanity.

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai and Etzioni, Oren, Keeping AI Legal (February 2, 2016). Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law Vol. XIX: 1. , Available at SSRN: or

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2023 G St. NW
Room 342
Washington, DC 20052
United States


Oren Etzioni

Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence ( email )

615 Westlake Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
United States

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