Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryLaw

google on ipad
Bangkok, Thailand 25 AUG 2020. Men hand using digital tablet for search information on Google.  Wireless Smartphone technology with intelligence search engine.

U.S. Department of Justice Sues Google (Again)

The DOJ claims the tech giant is unlawfully monopolizing the digital advertising market

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing Google, claiming the technology company has monopolized the digital advertising market. This marks the second federal anti-trust suit against Google. Google has led the digital advertising market for years, although companies like TikTok and Amazon are becoming more viable competitors. Despite the competition, Google still raked in $209B in advertising in 2021, per a briefing from 1440 News, and its 2022 financial report is expected to disclose similar numbers. The official complaint notes the benefit and importance of a “vibrant internet” in American life but emphasizes the centrality of economic diversity and competition. Section 4 of the complaint claims “the ad tech space is broken,” further explaining,   One industry behemoth, Google, Read More ›

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abstract ai generated illustration of a colored floating liquid in the trend colors pink, orange, blue and violet

Three Artists Launch Lawsuit Against Stable Diffusion

Content creators claim new AI tools violate copyright and intellectual property

Three artists, Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan and Karla Ortiz are filing a lawsuit against the AI image generators Midjourney, Stability AI, and DeviantArt. They claim the AI tools commit copyright violation and infringement of intellectual property. The lawsuit appears amid growing concerns among content creators over the increasing popularity and use of new AI image and text generators like DALL-E and ChatGPT. According to a report from Techspot,  The trio have launched a class action on behalf of all artists affected and are “seeking compensation for damages caused by Stability AI, DeviantArt, and Midjourney, and an injunction to prevent future harms.” The lawsuit alleges direct copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement related to forgeries, violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Read More ›

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Internet law concept

You’ve Got a Robot Lawyer in Your Pocket (Really?)

The DoNotPay AI lawyer program might be useful for fighting parking tickets but it is unsuited to serious litigation where much more complex issues are at stake

The Gutfeld! program on Fox News on January 6, 2023, recently had fun discussing robots replacing lawyers to practice law. In faux serious rhyme, Greg Gutfeld intoned: “Can a computer that’s self aware, keep you from the electric chair?” Sparking the conversation was the report that an artificial intelligence (AI) smartphone app was slated to assist a defendant fighting a parking ticket in a currently-undisclosed courtroom: Gigabytes of text could stream forth addressing the near infinite number of questions raised about robot lawyers. For now, let’s just explore the “robot lawyer” app built by DoNotPay. The company’s website declares: “The DoNotPay app is the home of the world’s first robot lawyer. Fight corporations, beat bureaucracy and sue anyone at the Read More ›

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Military bomb defusing robot with shepherd dog in the background.

How San Francisco’s Gun Fears Prevented Lifesaving Innovation

Killer robots in law enforcement would reduce the death toll but they are a bridge too far for many politicians

In November, 2022, San Francisco voted to allow police to deploy killer robots. Less than a month later, the city reversed their decision. Initially, in an 8-3 vote, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors allowed law enforcement to use robots “as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available to SFPD.” Sounds like reasonable policy, but protestors held up “NO KILLER ROBOTS!” signs at City Hall and the Board of Supervisors caved. This may be a case of hoplophobia, an irrational fear of firearms. So-called “killer robots” can deploy explosives to allow passage through blockaded doors or, in extreme situations, kill those who put innocent Read More ›

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Cat hunter with a caught mouse in her mouth

Can Animals Be Held Criminally Responsible for Their Acts?

While the idea is handled provocatively in philosophy literature, in practice, animals are envisioned as plaintiffs, not defendants, in animal rights cases

In an essay at Psyche, Ed Simon, a journalist who investigates the eclectic, looks at the history/mythology of trying animals like pigs and rats for criminal offenses. He sees an opportunity there for animal rights activism: Dismissing animal trials as just another backwards practice of a primitive time is to our intellectual detriment, not only because it imposes a pernicious presentism on the past, but also because it’s worth considering whether or not the broader implications of such a ritual don’t have something to tell us about different ways of understanding nonhuman consciousness, and the rights that our fellow creatures deserve. From our metaphysics, then, can come our ethics, and from our ethics can derive politics and law. There need Read More ›

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Intellectual Property Rights, Copyright, Patent or Trademark Infringement

Law: Doe vs. GitHub Is a Non-Crisis

Despite worrisome headlines in the media, Doe v. GitHub, Inc. would protect licensed software code without blocking AI systems from using internet data for “learning”

Headline at The Verge: “The lawsuit that could rewrite the rules of AI copyright.” Wired similarly declares: “This Copyright Lawsuit Could Shape the Future of Generative AI.” The subtitle warns: “Algorithms that create art, text, and code are spreading fast — but legal challenges could throw a wrench in the works.” Indeed, two putative class action lawsuits were filed in the Northern District of California federal district court in November 2022 against GitHub, GitHub’s owner Microsoft, OpenAI and others. The lawsuits allege that two interrelated artificial intelligence (AI) software systems are continuously violating the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as well as breaching contracts, engaging in unlawful competition, and violating California state privacy laws. Attorney and programmer Matthew Butterick Read More ›

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3D Illustration Roboter Auge

Why Don’t Robots Have Rights? A Lawyer’s Response

Robots are hardware and software packages that lack a nature or any abilities outside of whatever their designers imagine

“Free the Robots!” “Equal Rights for Robots!” Or maybe: “Set Us Robots Free!” Such future protest signs might well pop up in social media, to judge from “Why don’t robots have rights?” (Big Think, October 31, 2022) Writer Jonny Thomson worries that “ future generations will look back aghast at our behavior” when humans can “no longer exploit or mistreat advanced robots” as will presumably be the case in the 21st century. Dig into the article and get techno-whiplashed as Thomson suddenly starts talking about “the 22nd century [when robots] are our friends, colleagues, and gaming partners.” Thomson’s article considers robot rights as analogous to animal rights. The summary asserts: When discussing animal rights and welfare, we often reference two Read More ›

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Private browsing on blue computer keyboard, internet security

About Google’s Incognito Mode — Techies Think You’ve Been Had

A recent lawsuit revealed that users may think Google is not watching them but programmers know that it is

When Incognito mode (“If you don’t want Google Chrome to remember your activity, you can browse the web privately in Incognito mode”) was challenged in court, programmers made some interesting admissions. While 56.3 percent of respondents surveyed in 2018 thought that Incognito “prevents Google from seeing their search history,” the reality is, according to techies, “Seriously, we all know private browsing modes don’t hide us from anything other than our spouse.” This is now blowing up: Google faces a potential privacy case as a class of millions of users filed to sue it for billions of dollars over Chrome’s Incognito mode lack of genuine privacy protections. While user ignorance is never a great argument in front of a judge, court Read More ›

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Internet law concept

Hawaiʻi’s Indefinite COVID Lockdown: How Would an AI Rule?

The governor of Hawaiʻi claimed that legislation supported his right to extend draconian COVID lockdown rules indefinitely. Here’s a test for an AI law program

Some people say artificial intelligence (AI) systems can become more intelligent, more intellectually capable, than humankind. After all, they say the AI “AlphaZero has taught itself chess from scratch in just a few hours and then went on to beat the world’s previous best chess-playing computer program.” AI already reads x-rays, drives cars, orders meals by phone, diagnoses skin cancer, and predicts the next movie hit. Some say AI will soon do legal analysis and make judicial decisions more accurately and fairly than humans can. Using a recent true case, let’s overview what it takes to write AI software that would analyze a statute. First, as in an appellate court brief, let’s set up the real life problem and the Read More ›

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TRUE versus FALSE written on the white arrows, dilemmas concept.

California Law to Punish Doctors for “Misinformation” About COVID

One problem is that a term like “scientific consensus” simply doesn’t apply to discussion of the evidence collected during the pandemic

An article at MedPage Today supports the new California law against doctors providing “misinformation” about COVID-19: California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation on Friday that gives the state some ammunition against physicians who spread lies about COVID in the context of direct patient care, although it won’t apply to those who spread such misinformation on social media. It is said to be the first such law in the nation. Such misinformation — when it is “contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care,” and delivered with “malicious intent or an intent to mislead” — now can be defined as “unprofessional conduct.” Cheryl Clark, “California Bill Barring Docs From Telling COVID Lies Signed Into Law” at MedPage Today Read More ›

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Did the Court Really Say Bees Are Fish?

And would an AI-run court — which some propose — make a different decision? Not here because California law allows the interpretation

See headlines like: “Great Day” For Bumblebees as Californian Court Rules That They Are Fish and: Bees are fish, California court rules You’d believe, on reading them, that a California court recently ruled that bees are fish. Another eyeroll-worthy court decision! Readers here might muse, “An artificial intelligence-run legal system would never make such a crazy ruling!” The Seemingly Boring Narrow Issue Let’s skip past the exciting headlines. The California Court of Appeal in Almond Alliance of California v. Fish & Game Commission faced the issue of “whether the bumble bee, a terrestrial invertebrate, falls within the definition of fish, as that term is used in the definitions of endangered species, threatened species, and candidate species” under specific sections of Read More ›

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Robot standing holding a pencil on notebook,retro vintage style

The Computer Is Not an Idea Machine, It’s a Powerful Pencil

Robert J. Marks talks to Pastor Greg Young of Chosen Generation about his new book, Non-Computable You

Recently, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks was a featured guest on Pastor Greg Young’s Chosen Generation Radio, in regard to his new book Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022) . The nationally syndicated talk show on USA Radio networks, which can be found on stations including KTRB in San Francisco, KDIS in Little Rock, and KYAH in Delta, Utah. The topic turns to artificial intelligence and patents for inventions: Here he is with Dr. Marks, discussing artificial intelligence and patents. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-205-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 (The discussion started out with talk of beards.) Pastor Greg Young: Well, one thing that AI doesn’t have is beards. Robert J. Marks: They don’t have beards, among a Read More ›

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megaphone wrapped in barbed wire. the concept of banning freedom of speech. censorship barbed wire megaphone

The Courts: May Social Media Censor Speech and Ban Users?

Two federal appeals courts came down on opposite sides. Hear the story

May Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube censor your posts and ban you from using their social media platforms? May a state government require large social media platforms to allow users and posts to present lawful information, ideas, and viewpoints with which the platforms disagree? Florida and Texas both enacted laws to restrict platforms from censoring and banning users whose content the platforms disliked. Two different federal appeals courts in 2022 ruled on whether these two states’ laws were constitutional — and came out on opposite sides. The following three scenarios frame the key issues. Scenario A: Commercial Ground Transportation A fellow boards a private company-owned, regularly scheduled commercial bus bound for Berkeley, California, wearing a T-shirt proclaiming in big letters: Save Read More ›

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courtroom attastor talking to magistrate

Can You Trust Wikipedia to Decide Your Courtroom Fate?

Should judges and lawyers rely on Wikipedia to guide court case decisions? Researchers devised a clever test to see if they do

Wired recently ran an article entitled “Wikipedia Articles Sway Some Legal Judgments.” The subtitle declared: “An experiment shows that overworked judges turn to the crowdsourced encyclopedia for guidance when making legal decisions.” Wired’s headline oversold the story but the topic is worth a close look. Researchers at Maynooth University in Ireland, MIT, and New York’s Cornell University conducted a study to test whether Wikipedia articles about Irish court decisions affected judicial rulings in subsequent cases in Ireland. The researchers selected Irish Supreme Court decisions, analyzed them, and posted about 75 articles in Wikipedia describing those decisions. They wanted to see whether Irish courts were then using the Wikipedia articles when writing their own judicial opinions. In English, Irish, Canadian, American, Read More ›

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Social media concept. Social networking service. Video hosting website. Streaming video.

You Hate Twitter Already? But Did You Know About the Child Porn?

From a searing report at The Verge, we learn that it’s out of control but executives have just not prioritized the issue

Recently, we’ve been covering Twitter’s court-destined squabble with tech entrepreneur Elon Musk about what he should pay for the edgy social medium. Labor writer Zoe Schiffer and tech writer Casey Newton published an article at The Verge today that will surely stir the pot. It’s about Twitter’s problems with child porn — and its efforts to get involved with adult porn. The story is complex as well as disturbing but here’s the outline: Early in 2022, Twitter, which has not been making much money in recent years, decided to allow adult content (porn) vendors to tweet their wares to paying customers (Adult Content Monetization or ACM). Twitter would, of course, get a percentage. The main competitor, OnlyFans, projects revenues of Read More ›

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Bank

Debanking… When Your Bank Acts Like a Political Party

In Canada, ordered by the government, banks began to act like the party in power. Panic, chaos, and bank runs ensued

Earlier this year, we looked at debanking, during the Convoy protests in Canada. The government ordered the banks to freeze the private bank accounts of protesters against the federal government’s contested COVID-19 policies. As we’ll see, debanking, in various forms — where the bank decides, for political reasons — to freeze or end accounts, is becoming a “thing” in the United States too. What really happens? An investigation uncovered some sobering findings: The government invoked the rarely used Emergencies Act on February 14, insisting that doing so was constitutional (“Charter compliant”) and that freezing individuals’ bank accounts “did not amount to a seizure” of them. What happened afterward might give pause for thought: The banks were essentially handed a list Read More ›

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Crypto Virtual Museum and Metaverse internet NFT display as a futuristic streaming media symbol as augmented reality and computer media concept.

When You Buy a Non-Fungible Token (NFT), What Do You Own?

You are buying someone’s digital idea. Just what legal rights that NFT confers is an open question. But the NBA is now selling them…

In the first episode of the discussion between computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks and computer engineering grad students Adam Goad and Austin Egbert (here and here), the discussion started with the projected metaverse and slowly turned to the wild world of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens — like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet. What’s worth knowing about this burgeoning digital world? Here are Bob, Adam, and Austin again in Episode 2, What are NFTs?, Part 1: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-199-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 This portion begins at 00:10. A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: We have been talking to Adam Goad and Dr. Austin Egbert both at Baylor University about Web3. Web3, which uses distributed computing, is the tool that’s Read More ›

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Internet law concept

US Federal court rules: Machines do not “invent” things

Evidently, Stephen Thaler’s aim was to get the patent office to recognize that an AI system can invent things all by itself

Check out this headline from lawandcrime.com: Federal Appellate Court Rules AI Systems Cannot Be “Inventors” Because They Are Not Human. Notice the angle: framing a battle between machines and homo sapiens, pitting human intelligence against artificial intelligence. The article’s first sentence spotlights the center attraction, stating: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Friday [Aug. 5, 2022] that artificial intelligence or “AI” systems cannot patent their inventions because they are not “natural people.” Here the Law and Crime article subtly inserts two key beliefs: (1) that AI systems can in fact invent things all by themselves; and (2) that AI systems physically can “patent their inventions.” The sentence thus implies that the human-centric court unfairly blocked them. Read More ›

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Social media concept. Social networking service. Video hosting website. Streaming video.

Big Social Media Must Appear in A-Gs’ COVID Censorship Lawsuit

Two states’ Attorneys General are suing officeholders and public officials over COVID-19 and have sent subpoenas to Meta, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

Missouri’s and Louisiana’s Attorneys General are suing federal government figures over suppression and censorship of COVID-19 information. Meta (Facebook’s parent company), YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have been issued third party subpoenas (they are ordered to appear in court). The lawsuit begun by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry …requests all communications with Mark Zuckerberg from Jan. 1, 2020, to the present. Also requested were any communications to any social media platform relating to the “Great Barrington Declaration,” a letter published in October 2020. The letter was published in response to COVID-19 policies that recommended “focused protection,” an approach to reaching herd immunity by allowing those at minimal risk of death to live normal lives Read More ›

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Metal Wheel Concept

Should AI Be Granted Patents on the Designs It Helps Develop?

That’s a current argument before the US Court of Appeals

Artificial intelligence (AI) should no more be given a patent on an invention than my word processor should be granted a copyright on the article I’m writing. Yet the US Appeals Court has recently been told: [AI] should be considered the inventor on patent applications covering a beverage container based on fractal geometry and a light beacon that flashes in a new way. Blake Britten, “Artificial intelligence can be a patent ‘inventor,’ U.S. appeals court told” at Reuters (June 6, 2022) Like bulldozers, electricity, and nuclear power, AI is a tool. Make no mistake, AI is a powerful and potentially dangerous tool. But like my word processor. it ultimately does only what it is instructed to do. Here is a Read More ›