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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Spiller

What are the legal issues surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Updated: Dec 31

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What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

AI is computer technology with the ability to replicate human intellectual processes. AI is programmed to execute algorithms–sets of code with instructions on how to perform specific tasks—to automate repetitive functions, reach conclusions, predict future behavior, etc. AI technology is used in a variety of fields such as robotics, natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, and deep learning. AI has been around for decades but has become increasingly popular due to advances in computing power and the availability of vast amounts of data. AI can help create automated systems that are more efficient, reliable, and accurate than ever before.

How is AI used?

AI has been used in the entertainment industry to analyze users’ activities and automate movie production methods. For example, Netflix uses an application driven by AI which gathers user data to provide more reliable content recommendations to users. Also, AI can automate complex and time-consuming tasks required to produce movies, such as storyboarding, building schedules, splitting down scripts, etc.

AI is being applied to healthcare situations, improving the accuracy and speed of diagnostics. AI-driven applications can analyze large amounts of data from patients’ medical records and make more accurate diagnoses compared to human doctors. AI can also be used in robotics to create autonomous robots that are designed for specific environments or tasks such as surveillance, search & rescue operations, hazardous waste removal, and more.

AI can be applied to financial services such as banking, trading, and investment management. AI-driven platforms can analyze large amounts of data from different sources in order to make decisions about investments, loans, and other types of risk management.

AI has even expanded in the consumer products market along with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices are consumer products, or “smart” devices, that use AI and internet connectivity to function. Examples of smart consumer products include Amazon’s Echo with Alexa, Apple products with Siri, and “Smart” home devices that control home functions.

In summary, Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science that is used in many ways to automate tasks and processes. Its applications range from entertainment, healthcare, robotics, financial services and consumer products. With the right combination of data and algorithms, AI can help us make more accurate decisions and reduce costs while increasing efficiency.

What are the legal issues surrounding AI?

IP infringement. IP infringement is a key legal issue related to AI. When performing its functions, an AI system may itself produce infringing code. For example, AI in the form of computer vision technology combined with generative design tools can lead to trade dress infringement by taking images from online stores and mass producing them. It is also important to consider copyright issues when using AI. The nature of the technology means that a large amount of data can be gathered and processed, which may include copyrighted material.

Data protection and privacy. Data protection and privacy also exist in the world of AI. Data protection involves collecting and processing enormous amounts of sensitive personal data from customers. AI data analytics systems can unintentionally disclose users’ personal information or reveal company trade secrets. Furthermore, AI has boosted social engineering attacks, like when it gathers information about businesses through social communication apps and websites. Companies must establish and enforce policies that protect customer data and ensure their AI systems are not responsible for any data breaches. To ensure compliance with data protection regulations, companies should consider measures like encryption and data anonymization.

IoT devices. Devices with IoT raise several issues, including whether or not product liability laws apply, how device manufacturers and AI software developers should allocate warranty liability, how to comply with applicable regulations, and how different forms of insurance coverage are affected. Companies must also consider cybersecurity issues when implementing AI to ensure that customer data is protected, as well as ethical considerations so their AI systems are not responsible for any bias or discrimination. Companies should strive to remain compliant with all applicable laws and regulations while also taking steps to ensure the ethical use of their AI technology.

Ethical issues. AI can have significant ethical implications. For example, AI systems can be used to make decisions that involve bias or discrimination based on race, gender, or age. Organizations must ensure that their algorithms are “fair” and not biased towards any particular group to prevent this from happening.


In conclusion, companies need to be aware of the legal and ethical implications involved in the use of AI technology. Compliance with applicable laws and regulations as well as data privacy and security protocols must be strictly adhered to. Additionally, ethical considerations must also be taken into account to ensure that decisions made by AI systems do not involve bias or discrimination

This article was contributed by Hannah Noëlle Johnson, a legal intern at Spiller Law.

Spiller Law is an advisor to startup businesses, entertainment and media companies, and artists. Feel free to schedule a free consultation.


Spiller Law is a San Francisco business, entertainment, and estate planning law firm. We serve clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and California. Feel free to arrange a free consultation using the Schedule Appointment link on our website. For other questions, feel free to call our offices at 415-991-7298.


The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers are advised to consult with their legal counsel for specific advice.

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