Artificial Intelligence as a New Challenge for Software Law
Artificial intelligence (hereafter “AI”) has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. AI is not a new concept or discovery as itself, however, recent progress in this field has been remarkable. Especially, advances in machine learning technology have been noticed by experts as well as by non-professionals. The impact of AI is discussed not just in the fields of technology and science but also in the field of law. The question of regulation of AI by law has been raised in regard to many legal issues, i.e. legal personhood, civil liability, intellectual property, etc. Obviously, the usage of AI varies in different fields with its specific implication for existing legal framework.
AI and its nature resemble the well-known field of software engineering and software as itself. Furthermore, AI technology requires the implementation of software to be functional. Due to this, elements of AI can be copyrighted or patented as software based on its nature. The question is whether these two technologies are the same, or similar enough, so that potential legal regulation of AI can be based on existing software law
Moreover, AI has been used for the purpose of software design, which makes the relationship between software and AI even closer. In the case of software design by AI, the consideration whether there might be an “artificial” software developer is even more interesting. The questions of allocation of authorship and copyright protection of software developed by AI are one of many legal implications of AI on software law.
This article aims to provide an analysis of AI and software based on the state of art of these technologies and open up discussion on the implications of software developed by AI. Therefore, this article is divided into 3 parts with the first part considering existing copyright protection of software with an emphasis on European legislation. The second part provides a description of the current state of art in the field of AI, in particular on AI software development. The final part analyses the clash of copyright and AI with an emphasis on the protection of software developed by AI.