When AI hurts people, who is held responsible?

Following a Maricopa County Grand Jury decision, the woman behind the wheel of a semi-autonomous Uber vehicle was charged last month with negligent homicide in the 2018 death of Elaine Herzberg. The lawsuit against the backup driver in the first known autonomous vehicle fatality promises to be a landmark case with the power to shape the future of artificial intelligence in the U.S.

Determining fault when AI plays a role in a person’s injury or death is no easy task. If AI is in control and something goes wrong, when is it the attending human’s fault and when can you blame the AI? That’s the focus of a recent paper published in the Boston University Law Review. Here, UCLA assistant professor Andrew Selbst finds that AI creates tension with existing negligence law and requires intervention by regulators. The paper was initially published in early 2020 but was recently updated with analysis of the Arizona negligent homicide case.