Reaction Document to Responsible AI: A Policy Framework by the International Technology Law Association

Cyber Justice Laboratory, 2019

16 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2020

See all articles by Yuan Stevens

Yuan Stevens

Centre for Law, Technology and Society, University of Ottawa; Toronto Metropolitan University Leadership Lab; Data & Society Research Institute

Anna Ma

McGill University

Date Written: October 31, 2019


The Cyberjustice Laboratory is an award-winning research institute that examines and harnesses emerging technology to improve access to the justice system in Canada and beyond. Founded in 2010 by Professor Karim Benyekhlef (Faculty of Law, University of Montreal), the Laboratory brings together an interdisciplinary team of experts who specialize in law, computer science, sociology, science & technology studies, data science, and software engineering in order to reimagine and improve justice systems through technology. The Laboratory’s dual focus aims to analyze the impact of technology on access to justice and develop concrete technological tools that adapt to the reality of the justice community.

We believe it is important to recognize the rich potential of artificial intelligence. Indeed, many tout the problem-solving promises of AI and use it as a marketing tool for commercial purposes. While there have been significant advancements in the use of AI for certain functions (e.g. image and audio recognition), there is need for increased improvement in and analysis of the use of AI in other tasks (e.g. analysis of legal texts, legal reasoning, judging). It is critical for legal experts to distinguish between AI-powered software in use that requires legal response and mere AI vaporware, the forward-looking promises of which have yet to be realized. Pulling apart AI initiatives that require normative reflection from those best understood as science fiction is precisely one of the objectives of the ACT Project.

For these reasons, the Cyberjustice Laboratory (“Laboratory” or “Lab”) considers it highly beneficial to offer input on the development of Responsible AI: A Global Policy Framework (“the Framework”) published by the International Technology Association (“ITechLaw”).

In sum, the Laboratory’s response to the Framework prioritizes the need to concretely apply these principles to national laws. We offer ways forward for the authors of the second iteration of this document to encourage Canadian lawmakers, in particular, to pragmatically implement these principles through such actions as creating an Office of Technological Assessment, enacting or amending legislation in various industries to account for AI, proactively accounting for possibilities of discrimination, and facilitating government regulation rather than industry self-regulation.

Keywords: AI, ethics, law, policy, Canada, legislation, discrimination

Suggested Citation

Stevens, Yuan and Ma, Anna, Reaction Document to Responsible AI: A Policy Framework by the International Technology Law Association (October 31, 2019). Cyber Justice Laboratory, 2019, Available at SSRN:

Yuan Stevens (Contact Author)

Centre for Law, Technology and Society, University of Ottawa

57 Louis Pasteur St
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5

HOME PAGE: http://

Toronto Metropolitan University Leadership Lab ( email )

55 Dundas St W
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C3


Data & Society Research Institute

36 W 20th St, 11th floor
New York City, NY 10011
United States


Anna Ma

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5

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