Artificial Intelligence Errors Potentially Heralding Litigation and Regulation?

When we think of artificial intelligence (AI), we often think of machine learning and decision-making that far surpasses that thinking of mere humans.  Many jobs once employed by humans now are being handled by AI, which over time can prove to be less expensive, and causing greater productivity and accuracy in terms of performing job tasks.  But is AI truly a panacea?  Not so fast.  Some problems reportedly have emerged.

For example, a benefits management program based on AI and adopted by Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency malfunctioned and falsely accused approximately 40,000 claimants of benefits fraud during a three year time period, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.  As a result, a class action lawsuit was filed which alleges that the AI system made incorrect fraud determinations a whopping 93% of the time.  The lawsuit seeks various categories of damages.

The Crain’s Detroit Business article states that this is not an isolated instance and reports that there have been problems with AI technologies in other states outside of Michigan.

Oregon installed an AI system to administer its disabilities benefits program.  A lawsuit followed that alleged that this system caused a 30% reduction of hours of service of all program recipients.

Arkansas installed an AI system to ascertain the level of services to be provided to residents with physical disabilities who are also of low-income.  A lawsuit alleged that the program wrongly reclassified 30% who received aid as ineligible.

And as one more example, an AI system was used in Washington, D.C. to set sentencing guidelines for juvenile offenders led to a lawsuit alleging that the recommended sentences were unfair and biased.

The train is out of the station with the AI experiment.  It is difficult to foresee all of the implications of AI, which makes potential legislation in this area difficult.  But if lawsuits like these prove AI errors with harsh impacts on those people affected, not only is there the possibility of further lawsuits, there also is the prospect of a greater look by legislators in terms of regulation.