Law firm calls for NZ AI working group

by Sol Dolor17 Oct 2016
Chapman Tripp has partnered with the Institute of Directors in calling for the New Zealand government to establish a high-level artificial intelligence working group.
The call of the organisations to carefully study the risks and opportunities of AI on New Zealand was made by the two organisations in a new white paper.
“As a critical first step, we call upon the Government to establish a high-level working group to consider the potential impact of AI technologies, including in the social, legal and economic arena,” the organisations said in the white paper.
The proposed working group would be multi-disciplinary and would include leaders form the private, public and community sectors including experts in science, business, law, ethics, society and government.
Chapman Tripp and the Institute of Directors said that the working group should be tasked with identifying major areas of opportunity and concern, and making recommendations about how New Zealand should prepare for AI-driven change.
They also said that the working group should reconvene and report periodically to ensure its advice keeps up with the pace of change in AI technology.
“While AI technologies have already been in use for many years – in a wide range of domains, including transportation, healthcare, financial services, education and processing natural language  – the area is developing rapidly," said Chapman Tripp partner Bruce McClintock.
According to the law firm experts surveyed for the study Future Progress in Artificial Intelligence said there is a 50% chance AI will exceed the general intelligence of a human in the next 24 years, rising to a 90% chance within 60 years.
Because of this, AI should be managed by the country positively to ensure people benefit from opportunities it provides as well as minimise policy, ethical and social issues that arise from its effects, said McClintock.
“Lawyers have an important role in assisting policymakers as they adapt existing laws and regulations to advances in AI.  While much of this will consider specific issues – for example, regulating the use of autonomous vehicles or addressing privacy concerns – there are also challenges to core legal assumptions about such things as legal responsibility and agency.  Lawyers are likely to see significant change in how the practice of law is undertaken,” he said.
Institute of Directors chief executive Simon Arcus said that all sectors should be investing in AI even if its impact on the New Zealand economy is unquantifiable.
“This extends from start-ups to SMEs and corporates, government agencies and educational institutes.  AI is an extraordinary challenge for our future.  Establishing a government-led high-level working group is critical to help New Zealand rise to that challenge,” he said.