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CBC Talks - Algorithms & the Law

  • London School of Economics Houghton Street London, England, WC2A 2AD United Kingdom (map)

Details: Room 3.21, Old Building, LSE, London

Speaker: Jeremy Barnett (Resilience Partners Limited and Construction Blockchain Consortium). Joint work with Adriano Soares Koshiyama and Philip Treleaven.

Abstract

The BARAC project defines feasibility guidelines to policy makers,
industry and regulators by identifying problems and associated
solutions with a bottom up approach, built through case studies
and proof of concept platforms.

In Law a company is treated as having the rights and obligations of a person. In this era of Artificial Intelligence (intelligent assistants, ‘Robo’-advisors, robots, and autonomous vehicles) ‘algorithms’ are rapidly emerging as artificial persons: a legal entity that is not a human being but for certain purposes is considered by virtue of statute to be a natural person. Intelligent algorithms will increasing require formal training, testing, verification, certification, regulation, insurance, and most importantly status in law.

For example, already in financial services Regulators require firms to demonstrate that trading algorithms have been thoroughly tested, demonstrate ‘best execution’ and are not engaged in market manipulation. Other interesting cases are healthcare algorithms; medical-assistant’ Chatbots and patient screening systems which will increasingly dispense medical advice and treatments to patients. Regulators, who have traditionally regulated firms and individuals, are raising the status of ‘algorithms’ to ‘persons’.

This paper discusses the emergence of ‘Algorithms as artificial persons’, with the need to formally verify, certify and regulate algorithms. Its aim is to start discussion in the Legal profession regarding the legal impact of algorithms on firms, software developers, insurers, and lawyers. This paper is written with the expectation that the reader is familiar with ‘Law’ but has a limited knowledge of algorithm technologies.

Jeremy Barnett is a practising Barrister, Recorder and director of Resilience Partners Limited. He is a Director of the Construction Blockchain Consortium (CBC) at UCL and has conducted research into algorithmic dispute resolution and the law of algorithms over a number of years. For 5 years he was the visiting professor of Law Informatics at Leeds University where he lead the Court 21 project, a research group in virtual courts.