Legal Issues In the News

Artificial Intelligence And The Law

Faye Jones

Faye Jones - University of Illinois College of Law University of Illinois College of Law

As new technologies arise, it may difficult to see how or if they will impact us.  Artificial intelligence, also known as AI, knowledge reasoning or Machine Learning processing, may be just such a technology.  When we think of AI, it may be at the extremes.  We may fear that robots will replace humans at work.  Or, we may decide that AI is unlikely to impact our lives at all.  Both of these are mistaken perceptions.

AI is used to enhance the speed, accuracy, precision and effectiveness of human efforts.  And surprisingly AI may already be an important part of your life.  In 2017, Forbes Magazine provided 10 examples of how AI is already being used.  If you rely on Siri or Alexa or travel expert John Paul, you are using AI.  If you drive a Tesla, purchase from Amazon, watch Netflix movies, use a Nest thermostat, or listen to music on Pandora, you are relying on AI.

AI is also used to supplement human assessment of information.  For example, doctors are using AI to scan patient records to see patterns that a human might miss and in turn to improve the accuracy of diagnoses.  AI may also be used to screen applicants for admission to schools and to conduct interviews for employment.  

It has been predicted that AI technology will dominate the 2020s.  As a consequence, there have been calls for government to ensure the ethical application of AI.  Illinois became the first state to regulate the use of AI in employment.  The Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act (AVIV) became effective on January 1, 2020.  Similar to Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, the AIVI Act requires employers who use AI to screen videotaped applicant interviews to:

(1) notify that AI is being used, including an explanation of how the AI works,

(2) obtain consent from the applicant,

(3) limit the disclosure of the video, and

(4) timely destroy the videos.  It is recommended that employers use AI is recruiting should scrutinize their employment processes, plan for disability accommodation issues, and work with their vendors to ensure compliance with the AIVI act.

More regulation on enforcement issues are expected to be forthcoming.  With the potential for such a strong impact in so many areas, AI is likely to impact all of us.