The European Commission has proposed new rules to help people harmed by products using artificial intelligence (AI) and digital devices like drones. The AI Liability Directive would reduce the burden of proof on people suing over incidents involving such items.
Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said it would make a legal framework that was fit for the digital age. Self-driving cars, voice assistants and search engines could all fall under the directive's scope. If passed, the Commission's rules could run alongside the EU's proposed Artificial Intelligence Act, the first law of its kind to set limits on how and when AI systems can be used.
The AI Liability Directive will introduce a "presumption of causality" for those claiming injuries by AI-enabled products.
This means victims will not have to untangle complicated AI systems to prove their case, so long as a causal link to a product's AI performance and the associated harm is established. For a long time, social media firms have hidden behind the caveat that they are merely platforms for other people's information and therefore not responsible for the content of it.
The European Union does not want to repeat this scenario, with companies which make drones, for example, getting off the hook if they cause harm just because the firm itself was not directly behind the controllers.
If your product is set up to be able to cause distress or damage, then you need to take responsibility if it does, is the clear message.