Tools  |    |  November 1, 2018

Ethical, safe, lawful: A toolkit for artificial intelligence projects

Toolkit developed by Linklaters to provide practical guidance for AI projects. 58 pages.


Artificial intelligence is starting to come of age. Businesses looking to exploit this technology are having to confront new practical, legal and ethical challenges.

This toolkit provides a brief overview of the legal issues that arise when rolling out artificial intelligence within your business. It is based partly on our experience of using artificial intelligence within Linklaters. The toolkit focuses on the position in the United Kingdom, but much of its content is equally relevant in other jurisdictions. However, it does not consider autonomous vehicles or robotics, which raise their own regulatory and commercial issues.

The toolkit starts with a short technical primer. This describes some of the recent advances in artificial intelligence and the likely limitations of this technology.

We then address five key issues:

  1. Collaboration & “ownership” – We consider why many projects will require collaboration and what rights you might want in any technology you develop.
  2. Developing AI & data – Recent developments in artificial intelligence are largely driven by data. This section looks at how you can obtain that data and the constraints on its use. It also looks at the use of regulatory and development sandboxes.
  3. Liability & regulation – This section summarises your responsibility for an artificial intelligence tool and the regulatory controls on its use, particularly for automated decisions. We also consider competition law risks, such as collusion between artificially intelligent agents.
  4. Safe use – We consider the safeguards you should apply when using an artificially intelligent tool in a live environment, such as testing, supervision and circuit breakers.
  5. Financial services – We outline some of the specific concerns for financial services firms, including lessons to be learnt from the rules on algorithmic trading.

Finally, we address the broader ethical challenges raised by this technology and the way in which the government and regulators are addressing these challenges.

We hope this toolkit helps you to engage with this exciting new technology ethically, safely and lawfully.