Symposium 2019

Common Law for the Age of AI

Co-sponsored by the Columbia Data Science Institute.

Faculty co-sponsors: Professors Jeannie Suk Gersen (Harvard), Bert Huang (Columbia), & Eric Talley (Columbia).

Friday, April 5th, 2019, 8:30 am – 5:30 pm. Reception to follow.
Jerome Greene Hall
435 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10027

Detailed Schedule (link coming soon)

Registration Information (link coming soon)

Courts are becoming pioneers in regulating artificial intelligence (AI). They are the first-movers in holding accountable the creators and the users of AI as it pervades everyday life. Due to a deficit of legislation and regulation in the United States, the courts must lead the way in confronting the controversies-and the major players-emerging from the accelerating use of AI by both private and public actors. Moreover, even after legislation and regulation take hold, the complementary work of the courts will continue to be indispensable. This symposium addresses the most pressing practical challenge courts will face: adapting the core concepts of the common law to the novel forms of individual and corporate behavior arising in this age of AI. The increasingly widespread technologies known as predictive algorithms and machine learning, which are what we mean here by the term AI, are presenting immediate conceptual challenges to the common law.

This phenomenon poses an intellectual and doctrinal task for the courts that arguably rivals the great transformation of the common law following the second industrial revolution at the turn of the 20th century. Now, as then, the courts will serve as the hub of conceptual experimentation, generating a legal vocabulary for future lawmaking and innovation. Will contemporary concerns about accountability for AI—for its design, its creation, its distribution, and its uses—match the generative force of comparable concerns a century ago, in reshaping the laws of liability? How, for instance, should the already alarming concentration of corporate power over AI influence the judicial decisions that will form the common law in this new age?

This symposium aims to jumpstart scholarly efforts to develop guidance for courts and lawmakers as the rise of AI forces the re-imagination, adaptation, and even abandonment of some of our most fundamental legal concepts. It will also turn the lens around to examine the use of AI in the work of the courts themselves, as well as the potential implications for the very process of common law evolution. While a nascent law-and-AI discourse has tended to focus on the design of new legislation or regulatory bodies, this symposium addresses instead how the growing use of AI will inevitably spur the courts to action, forcing them to reconsider core legal principles and develop a common law for the age of AI.

Featured Keynote Speaker

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar
California Supreme Court Justice

Featured Commentators

Colleen Chien (Santa Clara)

Alexandra Chouldechova (Carnegie Mellon)

Tali Farhadian (General Counsel, Brooklyn DA)

David Madigan (Columbia)

Olga Russakovsky (Princeton)

Olivier Sylvain (Fordham)

Jeannette Wing (Columbia)

Kareem Yusuf (General Manager, IBM Watson)

Featured Authors

Kate Crawford (AI Now Institute & Microsoft Research)

Mala Chatterjee (NYU)

Ashley Deeks (UVA)

Jeanne Former (NYU)

Scott Hemphill (NYU)

Frank Pasquale (Maryland)

Jason Schultz (NYU)

Katherine Jo Strandburg (NYU)

Tim Wu (Columbia)

This symposium is free to all attendees. Registration required (link coming soon).

Please direct all questions the Columbia Law Review Symposium Editor.