Law Without Mind: AI, Ethics, and Jurisprudence

41 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2018 Last revised: 3 Sep 2021

See all articles by Joshua P. Davis

Joshua P. Davis

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Date Written: May 1, 2018

Abstract

Anything we can conceive that computers may do, it seems that they end up doing and that they end up doing it better than us and much sooner than we expected. They have gone from calculating mathematics for us to creating and maintaining our social networks to serving as our personal assistants. We are told they may soon become our friends and make life and death decisions driving our cars. Perhaps they will also take over interpreting our laws. It is not that hard to conceive of computers doing so to the extent legal interpretation involves mere description or prediction. It is much harder to conceive of computers making substantive moral judgments. So the ultimate bulwark against ceding legal interpretation to computers—from having computers usurp the responsibility and authority of attorneys, citizens, and even judges—may be to recognize the role of moral judgment in saying what the law is. That possibility connects the cutting edge with the traditional. The central dispute in jurisprudence for the past half century or more has been about the role of morality in legal interpretation. Suddenly, that dispute has great currency and urgency. Jurisprudence may help us to clarify and circumscribe the role of computers in our legal system. And contemplating AI may help us to resolve jurisprudential debates that have vexed us for decades.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, AI, jurisprudence, computers, legal interpretation, moral judgment, law

Suggested Citation

Davis, Josh Paul, Law Without Mind: AI, Ethics, and Jurisprudence (May 1, 2018). Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2018-05, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3187513 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3187513

Josh Paul Davis (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

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