Blockchain, AI and the Legal System – Will Tech Lead The Law?

Artificial intelligence is fashionable. It is mentioned in the board meetings of marketing companies, logistics, the financial industry, health and many others. This technology brings a level of autonomy to digital systems. But, on several occasions, the digital services collided and even came into conflict with the application of the law.

What happens when technologies, such as deep learning software and self-enforcement code, lead legal decisions? How can one ensure that next-generation legal technology systems are not unfairly biased against certain groups or individuals? And what skills will lawyers need to develop in order to properly assess the quality of justice that flows from data-driven decisions?

While entrepreneurs have been observing traditional legal processes for some years, this first phase of legal innovation pales in importance. The transformative potential of artificial intelligence technologies already has many writing algorithms related to legal processes.

How can legal protections be safeguarded if decisions are automated through algorithmic models trained in discrete data sets, or from policies administered when integrated into a blockchain?

This is the kind of question that the lawyer and philosopher Mireille Hildebrandt, professor at the law, science, technology and society research group at Vrije Universiteit Brussels in Belgium, will formulate and respond to during a five-year project to investigate the implications of what she calls ‘computational law’.

Last month, the European Research Council awarded Hildebrandt a 2.5 million euro grant to carry out fundamental research with a dual technology approach: artificial legal intelligence and legal blockchain applications.

Hildebrandt describes the project in published reports as very abstract and very practical, with a team that will include both lawyers and computer scientists. Its intention is to create a new legal hermeneutics, that is, a framework for lawyers to approach the architectures of computer laws intelligently; Understand the limitations and implications, and be able to ask the right questions to evaluate the technologies that are increasingly put to work to evaluate us.

“The idea is for lawyers to meet with computer scientists to understand what they are facing,” he explains. “I want to have that conversation … I want lawyers who are analytically very keen and philosophically interested to meet with computer scientists and understand each other’s language.

“We’re not going to develop a common language, that’s not going to work, I’m convinced, but they should be able to understand what the meaning of a term is in the other discipline, and learn to play, and say it’s okay, see the complexity In both fields, get away from trying to make everything very simple.

“And after seeing the complexity to be able to explain it in a way that the people that really matter, that we are citizens, we can make decisions both at a political level and in everyday life.”

Hildebrandt says that he included AI and blockchain technologies in the scope of the project, since both offer “two very different types of computational laws”.

There is also the possibility that the two can be applied in combination, creating “a whole new set of risks and opportunities” in a legal technological environment.

Blockchain “freezes the future,” Hildebrandt argues, admitting that it is the technology of which she is most skeptical in this context. “Once you put it in a chain of blocks, it is very difficult to change your mind, and if these rules are reinforced, it would be a very costly matter both in terms of money and in terms of effort, time, confusion and uncertainty. change that.

“You can fork but not, I think, when governments are involved. They can not simply fork. ”

That said, he postulates that blockchain could at some point in the future be considered an attractive alternative mechanism for states and companies to settle into a less complex system to determine obligations under the global tax law, for example. (Assuming that such an agreement could be reached).

Given how complex legal compliance can be for Internet platforms that operate across borders and intersect with different jurisdictions and political expectations, the time may come when a new system is deemed necessary to apply the rules, and put the Policies in a chain of blocks could be a way to respond to the entire chaotic overlap.

Although Hildebrandt is cautious about the idea of ​​blockchain-based systems for legal compliance.

This story originally appeared in Spanish at Cripto247

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