Humans in the Loop

82 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2022 Last revised: 5 Apr 2023

See all articles by Rebecca Crootof

Rebecca Crootof

University of Richmond School of Law; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project

Margot E. Kaminski

University of Colorado Law School; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project; University of Colorado at Boulder - Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship

W. Nicholson Price II

University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: March 25, 2022

Abstract

From lethal drones to cancer diagnostics, humans are increasingly working with complex and artificially intelligent algorithms to make decisions which affect human lives, raising questions about how best to regulate these “human in the loop” systems. We make four contributions to the discourse.

First, contrary to the popular narrative, law is already profoundly and often problematically involved in governing human-in-the-loop systems: it regularly affects whether humans are retained in or removed from the loop. Second, we identify “the MABA-MABA trap,” which occurs when policymakers attempt to address concerns about algorithmic incapacities by inserting a human into decisionmaking process. Regardless of whether the law governing these systems is old or new, inadvertent or intentional, it rarely accounts for the fact that human-machine systems are more than the sum of their parts: They raise their own problems and require their own distinct regulatory interventions.

But how to regulate for success? Our third contribution is to highlight the panoply of roles humans might be expected to play, to assist regulators in understanding and choosing among the options. For our fourth contribution, we draw on legal case studies and synthesize lessons from human factors engineering to suggest regulatory alternatives to the MABA-MABA approach. Namely, rather than carelessly placing a human in the loop, policymakers should regulate the human-in-the-loop system.

Keywords: AI, regulation, hybrid systems, MABA-MABA, humans in the loop, artificial intelligence

Suggested Citation

Crootof, Rebecca and Kaminski, Margot E. and Price II, William Nicholson, Humans in the Loop (March 25, 2022). 76 Vanderbilt Law Review 429 (2023), U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 22-10, U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 22-011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4066781 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4066781

Rebecca Crootof

University of Richmond School of Law ( email )

28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173
United States

Yale University - Yale Information Society Project ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Margot E. Kaminski

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Yale University - Yale Information Society Project ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

University of Colorado at Boulder - Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship ( email )

Wolf Law Building
2450 Kittredge Loop Road
Boulder, CO
United States

William Nicholson Price II (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

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