Rise of the Machines: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and the Reprogramming of Law (Symposium Foreword)
88 Fordham Law Review 381-404 (2019)
24 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2019 Last revised: 20 Nov 2019
Date Written: October 31, 2019
This Foreword provides an overview of Rise of the Machines: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and the Reprogramming of Law, a symposium hosted by the Fordham Law Review and cosponsored by the Fordham Law School’s Neuroscience and Law Center. As the Symposium spotlights, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are no longer the products of science fiction. AI is used by millions of people every day, from hedge fund managers to health-care professionals and even consumers of personalized assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa. Neuroscience — “the branch of life sciences that studies the brain and nervous systems,” — is integral to AI development, as programmers seek to improve machines by understanding human thought patterns.
Nonetheless, AI is something of a buzzword across the legal industry. There is still a certain mystique to the technology’s functionality that this Symposium intended to clarify while also assessing how it can affect legal regimes. In particular, this Symposium focused on problems posed by current and very near-future AI research and development with the aim to facilitate a dialogue among those who will shape the future of this impactful technology: neuroscientists, computer scientists, attorneys, and business professionals. As researchers continue to use neuroscience to make AI more “human” in its reasoning, the technology has encountered a range of human legal problems, including discrimination and bias, civil liability for risk-taking, and ownership of data and creative content.
Regardless of the industry, ethical standards for the development of AI will be crucial. There is a popular adage in the world of computing: “garbage in, garbage out.” In essence, this idea tells us that flawed inputs will yield flawed results. It is an unfortunate reality that human beings are imperfect and susceptible to errors, biases, and prejudices. It is thus integral to reduce the impact that human judgments have on the tools we use. The transition to a world of algorithmic governance is not without its potential costs. As is particularly salient in the national discourse, it appears that our privacy is something of a premium. With the next great advancement in automated decision-making, individuals may stand to lose in privacy what they gain in convenience.
Keywords: robotics, artificial intelligence, bias, technology, neurorobotics, personalized assistants, personhood, algorithmic governance, privacy
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