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AI Law Task Force Takes Shape with Advisor Selection, Starting Agenda  

A new task force set to examine the intersection between law, technology and artificial intelligence (AI) will include several former high-ranking government officials and legal experts including ex-secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and Stanford Law School professor Daniel Ho.

The new American Bar Association (ABA) initiative entitled the Task Force on Law and Artificial Intelligence, was formally unveiled on Monday, August 28. In addition to Chertoff and Ho, who is also a member of the National AI Advisory Committee and associate director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, the task force will also include:

  • Michelle Lee, former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property
  • Miriam Vogel, who also sits on the National AI Advisory Committee
  • Seth Waxman, a former U.S. solicitor general.

“The work of the ABA AI Task Force is critical to identifying solutions to AI risks–from countering the creation and spread of disinformation, to protecting privacy in AI development, to guarding against security threats from use of AI in informational warfare,” Chertoff said.

The AI Task Force will be chaired by attorney and cybersecurity engineer Lucy L. Thomson, who was also a founding member of the ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force. Additionally, Laura Possessky, Cynthia Cwik and James Sandman will serve as its vice chairs, according to the ABA announcement.

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The role of AI in the legal space has been a hot-button topic in the U.S., especially over the last three years, and the task force comes during a time of rapid development and intense research in the space. As such, the US. Department of State has also taken a noteworthy role in the development of policies aimed at safely and effectively leveraging the technology.

“A global technology revolution is now underway. The world’s leading powers are racing to develop and deploy new technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing that could shape everything about our lives–from where we get energy, to how we do our jobs, to how wars are fought,” said Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. “We want America to maintain our scientific and technological edge, because it’s critical to us thriving in the 21st century economy.”

One way the Department of State seeks to achieve this goal is through guidance provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development AI Policy Observatory. In 2019, notes the department, the U.S. adopted a set of “intergovernmental principles” aimed at responsible AI development.

Along those lines, the new ABA task force is set to study:

  • AI legal practices and their ethical implications
  • Risks related to bias, privacy, cybersecurity and the spread of disinformation
  • Generative AI
  • Access to justice through the utilization of AI
  • AI’s role in governance
  • AI’s role in the legal education space

“At a time when both private and public sector organizations are moving rapidly to develop and use artificial intelligence, we are called again to lead to address both the promise and the peril of emerging technologies,” said ABA President Mary Smith.

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