Rule of Law in the Age of AI: Principles of Distributive Liability for Multi-Agent Societies

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Sch of Psychology


The UK and Japan appeal to similar models of subjectivity in categorizing legal liability. Rooted historically and philosophically in the figure of the human actor capable of exercising free will within a given environment, such a model of subjectivity ascribes legal liability to human agents imagined as autonomous and independent. However, recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) that augment the autonomy of artificial agents such as autonomous driving systems, social robots equipped with artificial emotional intelligence, and intelligent surgery or diagnosis assistant system challenge this traditional notion of agency while presenting serious practical problems for determining legal liability within networks of distributed human-machine agency. For example, if the accident occurs from cooperation between human and an intelligent machine, we do not know how to distribute legal liability based on current legal theory. Although legal theory assumes that the autonomous human agent should take the responsibility of the accident, but in the case of human-intelligent machine interaction, human subjectivity itself is influenced by the behavior of intelligent machines, according to the findings of cognitive psychology, of the critical theory of subjectivity, and of the anthropology of science and technology.
This lack of the transparent and clear distributive principles of legal liability may hamper the healthy development of society where human dignity and technological innovation can travel together, because, no one can trust the behavior and quality of the machine, that may cause corporal or lethal injury, without workable legal liability regime.
Faced with this challenge, that is caused and will be aggravated by the proliferation of AI in UK and Japan, an objective of our study is to make the distributive principle of legal liability clear in the multi-agent society and proposing the relevant legal policy to establish the rule of law in the age of AI, that enables us to construct the "Najimi society" where humans and intelligent machines can cohabit, with sensitivity to the cultural diversity of the formation of subjectivity.
In order to achieve the objective above, we create the three interrelated and collaborative research groups:
Group 1: Law-Economics-Philosophy group that proposes the stylized model to analyze and evaluate the multi-agent situation, based on dynamic game theory connected to the philosophy of the relativity of human subjectivity, in order to figure out the distributive principle of legal liability and the legal policy for the rule of law in the age of AI, based on both the quantitative data and qualitative data from the other groups, with the support from experienced legal practitioner and policy makers.
Group 2: Cognitive Robotics and Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology group that implements various computer simulation and psychological experiments to capture data on human interaction and performance with as well as attidues and experience of intelligent machines - in this case (simulated) autonomous vehicles. The outputs of this group will examine the validity of the first group's model and provide mainly the quantitative data relating to subjectivity with the first group, leading to help to construct more reliable model and workable legal principles and policies.
Group 3: Cultural Anthropology group that engages in comparative ethnographic fieldwork on human-robot relations within Japan and the UK to better account for the cultural variability of distributed agency within differing social, legal, and scientific contexts. The output of this group will help the interpretation of the quantitative data and allow the first group to keep sensitivities to the diversity.
By the inherently transdisiciplinary and international cooperation described above, our project will contribute to make UK and Japanese society more adoptive to emerging technology through clarifying the legal regime.

Planned Impact

Our novel, cutting edge, cross cultural research will have significant social impact domestically, internationally and globally that makes our current society more adoptable to emerging many intelligent technologies. There are multiple pathways to impact:
1. Publish our academic achievements as articles within high impact influential international journals. Such publications will increase the possibility that our proposal of the behavioural findings, legal system and fundamental theory will be adopted by other researchers and policy makers.
2. Social promotion of our academic project. To gain the public acceptance and understanding of our project, we will hold public symposia or other social activities aimed at public acceptance. We will frame these activities in such a way that the audience's experience in this activity will help us to promote our project. Some research members of our project have been engaging in the social activity that aims to help public to understand the potential benefit and cost of emerging technology. For example, some participated as a panelist of public forum that treats potential accidents caused by human-machine interaction. Others held a philosophy café or workshop to give citizens a chance to reflect their perception of human and machine and to raise a critical view to emerging technology and society. These activities may not seem to have a huge impact on society, but continuous effort to include public into scientific circle should have considerable social impact in long term. Based on the achievements of our research, we will engage in these activities to make a social impact.
3. Interactive education with engineers who build intelligent machines in private or public sectors. Our cultural anthropological team has a rich experience to make communications with front line engineers to raise their critical sense to design the interactive machines, that may influence the subjectivity of the users. They also hold a workshop to critically reflect the influence of diverse interaction between human and machine. These activities may influence and change the mindset of engineers on site and lead to potentially huge social impact on the actual practice of building and designing intelligent machines. And we all are sure that our academic achivement of our research project will enlarge and support these activities that will change the whole society more adoptive to the emerging technologies. For instance, the Cardiff group will act via various research centres and groups that they lead/co-lead, have strong industrial connection with over 40 external organisations.
4. Make a continuously operating international platform between UK and Japan to exchange stimulating ideas among participants. We will make an international platform that may become future foundation of international academic activity and policy making regarding to intelligent machines. Our research team is already inherently international, and further cooperation with international researchers or practitioners may not only enrich our research project but also increase the social impact of our research. We are reflecting the possibility of holding an annual international research conference or workshop in order to invite many international AI and related experts with diverse backgrounds.
5. Propose concrete policies regarding to the legal regulation and legal system of intelligent machines, initially amongst lawfirms that we are conneceted with such as AXA, Burges Salmon, Nagashima, Nishimura and Asahi partners, Ohno, and Tsunematsu as well as the Japan Ministry of Economy,Trade and Industry, together with many thousands of employees and connections. As we include experienced legal practitioners and policy makers into our project, we can profit from their knowledge to make new laws and workable legal system.


10 25 50