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[theory-seminar] Fwd: Class on Regulating Artificial Intelligence (LAW 4039)

Moses Charikar moses at
Sat Aug 31 08:40:23 PDT 2019

For those of you interested in a legal perspective on AI, see this course
by Justice (and Prof.) Cuellar over in the Law school. (info below, you
need to apply to take the class)


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Subject: Class on Regulating Artificial Intelligence (LAW 4039)

Regulating Artificial Intelligence

Regulating Artificial Intelligence (4039): Even just a generation ago,
interest in "artificial intelligence" (AI) was largely confined to academic
computer science, philosophy, engineering research and development efforts,
and science fiction. Today the term is widely understood to encompass not
only long-term efforts to simulate the kind of general intelligence humans
reflect, but also fast-evolving technologies (such as elaborate
convolutional neural networks leveraging vast amounts of data) increasingly
affecting finance, transportation, health care, national security,
advertising and social media, and a variety of other fields. Conceived for
students with interest in law, business, public policy, design, and ethics,
this highly interactive course surveys current and emerging legal and
policy problems related to how law structures humanity's relationship to
artificially-constructed intelligence.

To deepen students' understanding of current and medium-term problems in
this area, the course explores definitions and foundational concepts
associated with "artificial intelligence," likely directions for the
evolution of AI, and different types of legally-relevant concerns raised by
those developments and by the use of existing versions of AI. We will
consider distinct settings where regulation of AI is emerging as a
challenge or topic of interest, including autonomous vehicles, autonomous
weapons, AI in social media/communications platforms, and systemic AI
safety problems; doctrines and legal provisions relevant to the
development, control, and deployment of AI such as the European Union's
General Data Protection Regulation; the connection between the legal
treatment of manufactured intelligence and related bodies of existing law,
such as administrative law, torts, constitutional principles, criminal
justice, and international law; and new legal arrangements that could
affect the development and use of AI. We will also cover topics associated
with the development and design of AI as they relate to the legal system,
such as measuring algorithmic bias and explainability of AI models.

Cross-cutting themes will include: how law affects the way important
societal decisions are justified, the balance of power and responsibility
between humans and machines in different settings, the incorporation of
multiple values into AI decision making frameworks, the interplay of norms
and formal law, the technical complexities that may arise as society scales
deployment of AI systems, and similarities and differences to other domains
of human activity raising regulatory trade-offs and affected by
technological change.

Note: The course is designed both for students who want a survey of the
field and lack any technical knowledge, as well as for students who want to
gain tools and ideas to deepen their existing interest or background in the
topic. Students with longer-term interest in or experience with the subject
are welcome to do a more technically-oriented paper or project in
connection with this class. But technical knowledge or familiarity with AI
is not a prerequisite, as various optional readings and some in-class
material will help provide necessary background. Requirements: The course
involves a mix of lectures, in-class activities, and student-led discussion
and presentations. Requirements include attendance, participation in
planning and conducting at least one student-led group presentation or
discussion, two short 3-5 pp. response papers for other class sessions, and
either an exam or a 25-30 pp. research paper. After the term begins,
students accepted into the course can transfer, with consent of the
instructor, from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R

CONSENT APPLICATION: We will try to accommodate as many people as possible
with interest in the course. But to facilitate planning and confirm your
level of interest, please fill out an application (available at by September 4, 2019. Applications received after
September 4, 2019 will be considered on a rolling basis if space is
available. The application is also available on the SLS website (Click
Courses at the bottom of the homepage and then click Consent of Instructor

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