Legal and ethical risks of artificial intelligence application


Editor:Samuel Lin Date:2023/09/07 Media: Meet 

The emergence of AI has ushered in a new era marked by innovation and unprecedented opportunities. However, it has also ushered in a wave of challenges that demand our immediate attention.

During the Meet Greater South exhibition, the organizers hosted a special salon titled "Legal and ethical risks of artificial intellifence application" in the "Idea Space." The event featured Joshua Hsu, Chief Operating Officer of Plain Law Media, as the salon host, and welcomed Mark L. Shope, Associate Professor of NYCU School of Law, and Christine Chen, Attorney, Research Fellow at UTokyo, and Doctoral Researcher at LMU Munich, as the guest speakers.

During this enlightening salon, Mark L. Shope and Christine Chen shared their invaluable insights into the global landscape of laws and regulations pertaining to artificial intelligence (AI) through illustrative case studies. They also delved into the legal and ethical controversies that may arise in the wake of AI's rapid development, touching upon the following potential disputes:

  • Privacy concerns: AI systems have become proficient at collecting and analyzing vast amounts of personal data, raising profound questions about data usage, who should have access to this data, and how we can effectively safeguard the privacy rights of individuals.
  • Bias and discrimination: AI algorithms, while powerful, may inadvertently perpetuate biases and discrimination from the data on which they are trained. Addressing issues related to algorithmic bias and ensuring fairness in AI decision-making processes present formidable challenges.
  • Accountability and legal liability: The intricate web of responsibility becomes entangled when AI systems err or cause harm. Determining who should be held accountable—whether it's the developers, operators, or the AI itself—requires careful consideration and legal clarity.
  • Autonomous systems and decision-making: As AI systems gain more autonomy, profound questions about the extent of their decision-making authority emerge, particularly in critical domains like healthcare, finance, and autonomous vehicles.
  • Intellectual property: AI's capacity to generate creative content, be it art, music, or text, raises complex questions regarding ownership and copyright. Who rightfully owns the creations generated by AI?
  • Regulation and oversight: Striking a harmonious balance between nurturing innovation and enacting effective regulations is a delicate undertaking. It involves fostering progress while safeguarding public interests.
  • Transparency and explainability: Ensuring that AI systems operate transparently and that their decision-making processes are comprehensible is pivotal in establishing trust and fostering accountability.
  • Data ownership and access: Controversies may arise concerning who owns and controls the data used to train AI systems and who should be granted access to this valuable resource.
  • Human rights issues: AI's influence extends to human rights, encompassing concerns related to surveillance, censorship, and the preservation of freedom of expression.

These thought-provoking controversies underscore the imperative need for sustained discourse, the creation of robust legal frameworks, and the formulation of ethical guidelines to confront the multifaceted challenges posed by AI technology. Notably, many nations, including the European Union and the United States, have proactively embarked on legislative journeys to address these AI-related issues. Their endeavors encompass the creation of specific regulations and policies tailored to mitigate potential threats and ensure responsible AI development. Additionally, dedicated governmental agencies and advocacy groups have been established to spearhead AI policy-making and oversight in the United States.

Image Credits: Meet

Turning our attention to Taiwan, a jurisdiction with its unique approach to data protection, we find an evolving landscape. Presently, Taiwan lacks an independent data protection authority. Instead, personal data protection falls under the ambit of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), with enforcement duties distributed among central government agencies and relevant local authorities collectively referred to as "competent authorities."

However, recognizing the necessity to fortify measures related to personal data protection and to proactively address potential concerns stemming from the future development of artificial intelligence, Taiwan's Constitutional Court issued a landmark ruling in August 2022. This ruling declared that the absence of an independent data protection authority contravenes the country's constitution, compelling the establishment of pertinent legal frameworks within a three-year timeframe.

Responding to this pivotal mandate, the Taiwan Legislative Yuan took decisive action by passing an amendment to the Personal Data Protection Act (hereafter referred to as the "Amendment") on May 16, 2023. This Amendment signifies a substantial leap forward in the realm of personal data protection in Taiwan. It is particularly salient in the context of emerging technologies, such as AI, where the handling of vast amounts of data and the preservation of individual privacy rights are paramount.

In essence, the Amendment represents a commitment to the continuous evolution of data protection laws in Taiwan. It reflects a forward-thinking approach that aligns with the global trajectory in addressing the challenges brought forth by AI technology. It reaffirms the principle that as we embrace technological advancements, we must simultaneously fortify the safeguards protecting individuals' privacy rights within an ever-evolving digital landscape. This legal development marks a significant stride toward ensuring that Taiwan's legal framework remains responsive to the dynamic intersection of AI and data privacy, securing a harmonious coexistence between innovation and the protection of fundamental human rights.

When it comes to neighboring countries like Japan, compliance with laws and regulations related to artificial intelligence (AI) holds significant importance. Japanese enterprises, in particular, are exceptionally cautious when it comes to legal compliance and protecting their reputation. In this regard, many Japanese companies have demonstrated a high level of vigilance, especially in the field of artificial intelligence. They are acutely aware that failure to adhere to relevant laws could result in damage to their reputation and standing.

For Japanese businesses, reputation and corporate image are exceptionally valuable assets. These companies are dedicated to delivering high-quality products and services and frequently compete in the global marketplace. Therefore, any violation of the law, especially in sensitive areas like personal data protection or intellectual property rights, could cause severe harm to their operations. Such damage may encompass more than just financial losses, extending to harm inflicted upon their reputation and credibility, which might take years to restore.

Consequently, many Japanese enterprises have taken proactive measures to ensure that their operations in the field of artificial intelligence comply with local and international laws and regulations.

Certainly, the development of artificial intelligence (AI) has indeed brought about crises and controversies, but at the same time, it cannot be denied that it has also brought a high level of convenience and opportunities to human life. For example, online shopping websites, through recording consumers' shopping behaviors and utilizing the power of big data analysis and AI's learning capabilities, can provide personalized shopping recommendations for each individual consumer. This not only allows consumers to access the information they need more quickly but also enables businesses to efficiently and accurately target potential buyers. This scenario illustrates that the development of AI not only generates disputes and concerns but indeed enhances the convenience of human life.

However, it's important to understand that the benefits and challenges of artificial intelligence coexist. As mentioned earlier, AI has raised a series of legal and ethical issues, including those related to privacy, bias, responsibility, and regulation. These issues require our ongoing attention and active resolution.

To realize the potential of artificial intelligence, we need to establish robust legal frameworks and ethical guidelines to ensure that its development and application align with societal values and interests. Additionally, we need to educate and train individuals to better understand and address the challenges posed by artificial intelligence.

The development of artificial intelligence is a double-edged sword, with both potential risks and limitless possibilities. Only when we can wisely address the problems it may generate while fully utilizing its advantages can artificial intelligence truly become humanity's most valuable assistant, bringing about positive changes to our lives and society. Therefore, we should remain vigilant, continuously learn, and adapt to ensure that we can fully harness the potential of artificial intelligence while safeguarding human values and rights.

In conclusion, the global discourse on AI technology's legal and ethical implications continues to evolve, with numerous nations proactively adapting their legislative frameworks to address these complex challenges. Taiwan, too, has embraced this commitment by taking decisive steps to fortify data protection and address the multifaceted issues posed by AI. As AI technology continues its ascent, these legal and ethical considerations will remain at the forefront of our global conversation, demanding our ongoing attention and collective effort to navigate the transformative impact of AI on our society, economy, and individual rights. Additionally, through this salon, the organizers aimed to provide attendees and startup teams with a deeper understanding of the legal regulations established by various countries in response to the development of artificial intelligence. This knowledge will prove valuable when venturing into international markets, allowing them to save time that would otherwise be spent navigating local legal intricacies. Moreover, it will facilitate smoother collaborations with local businesses and governments in these markets.

Samuel Lin, 2023/09/07, <Legal and ethical risks of artificial intelligence application>, Meet, News