ACM FAccT 2022

Dr Aaron Snoswell and Dr Henry Fraser presenting at ACM FAccT 2022

Authors Loren Dela Cruz
Date 10 June 2022

ADM+S Research Fellows Dr Aaron Snoswell and Dr Henry Fraser will be presenting their paper ‘AI Opacity and Explainability in Tort Litigation: A roadmap for combining law, civil procedure and explainable Artificial Intelligence’ at the ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (ACM FAccT) 2022 in Seoul, South Korea.

The paper explores strategies, both technical and legal, for overcoming AI opacity in the context of litigation – to ensure that developers and procurers of AI are held accountable for harms caused by their failures to take appropriate care. A spate of recent accidents and a lawsuit involving Tesla’s ‘self-driving’ cars highlights the growing need for meaningful accountability when harms are caused by AI systems. Tort (or civil liability) lawsuits are one important way for victims to redress harms. The prospect of tort liability may also prompt AI developers to take better precautions against safety risks. Tort claims of all kinds will be hindered by AI opacity: the difficulty of determining how and why complex AI systems make predictions.

Dr Aaron Snoswell, Dr Henry Fraser and ADM+S Student Rhyle Simcock address this problem by formulating and evaluating several options for mitigating AI opacity that combine expert evidence, legal argumentation, civil procedure, and Explainable AI approaches. They emphasise the need for explanations of AI systems in tort litigation to be attuned to the elements of legal ‘causes of action’ – the specific facts that must be proven to succeed in a lawsuit.

The paper takes a recent Australian case involving explainable AI evidence as a starting point from which to map contemporary Explainable AI approaches to elements of tortious causes of action, focusing on misleading conduct, negligence, and product liability for safety defects. It synthesizes law, legal procedure, and computer science literature to provide greater clarity on the opportunities and challenges for Explainable AI in civil litigation, and may prove helpful to potential litigants, to courts, and to illuminate key targets for regulatory intervention.

ACM FAccT is a computer science conference with a cross-disciplinary focus that brings together researchers and practitioners interested in fairness, accountability, and transparency in socio-technical systems. It will be held on 21-24 June 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. For more information, visit the ACM FAccT website.