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Experts call for special Artificial Intelligence law
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DUBAI: There should be a mechanism for assigning balanced responsibility among AI designers, producers and users, experts at the second session of the Dar Al Khaleej Conference on Saturday agreed.

Chairman of the Private Law Department at United Arab Emirates University, Dr. Emad Abdel Rahim Dahiyat, presented a paper on the “Legislative and Legal Framework for Artificial Intelligence Institutions in the UAE.”

He said, “We are in an environment where programming companies are designing software capable of reading and analysing documents, forecasting disputes and proposing legal settlements.”

Apart from Artificial Intelligence’s humanitarian uses like in medicine and education, he explained, it is being assimilated into the military field such as in military equipment and electronic warfare.

In his paper, he discussed challenges in AI-based agreements, regarding who to be held liable, and the current local and global legislative system and shortages to be tackled in order to activate AI in the UAE.

“Today we have AI programmes that make decisions without direct human intervention. What if a self-driving car causes unpredictable or unpreventable damage? Who should be legally accountable?

“What if AI breaches intellectual property rights or destroys a given website? In such scenarios, is it the user, programmer, distributer, service provider or website manager to blame for the loss?

“What if the losses and financial implications caused by the smart programme are greater than could be handled by the user?” he asked and cited examples of fatal accidents caused by smart cars.

“To make matters worse, the failure of smart programmes or robots is not always attributed to negligence or programming and development mistakes, but to factors such as viruses and breakdowns.”

He stressed that it is irrational to hold users or programming companies solely responsible as it will drive either parties to refrain from using or developing such programmes.  “Thus it is necessary to review legislations pertaining to information technology in a realistic manner that harmonises with the type of programme and its role and balances interests of concerned parties.”

He said the current legislative systems regard electronic programmes as mere conduits and attribute most of the liabilities to the users. “They fall short of realising that current programmes can act independently,” he said.

Intellectuals agreed there should be a special law on AI provided that concerned parties seek the help of computer scientists in drafting it and that the user should not be held accountable for a programme’s unpredictable actions.

The session’s chairman Dr. Abdullah Abdul Jabbar Al Majid, Assistant Undersecretary for Support Services, Ministry of Justice hailed Al Khaleej Study Centre under Dar Al Khaleej for Press Printing and Publishing.

“The centre plays a paramount role in organising annual conferences that shed light on contemporary challenges and solutions, in this regard comes today’s conference within the 4th industrial revolution.”

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