An Analysis of Product Liability for AI Entities with special reference to the Consumer Protection Act, 2019


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An Analysis of Product Liability for AI Entities with special reference to the Consumer Protection Act, 2019

Dr. Priya Roy & Mr. Rituraj Bhowal

Abstract: In 1955 computer scientist John McCarthy initiated a research discipline known as Artificial Intelligence (AI). In the beginning of AI, it was indeed a matter of fascination as intelligent automated entities was in a captive state in human’s imagination. Surprisingly at present, that fascination has transformed into fear of many. Initially, when AI was being materialised, it was assigned for solving algebraic problems, playing games or speaking in distinctive languages. Till then AI was not in a state to create any disruption. However, the problem began in late 20th century and also in the beginning of 21st century, when AI was involved with more cognitive tasks it made experts to fear. From solving mathematics and playing games, humans put AI in charge of responsibilities traditionally performed by surgeon, judge, lawyers, police, armed forces and many more. With greater responsibility as assigned with AI, there arises much more liability. In order to deal with these new sets of liabilities for AI entities, scholars have suggested different methods either by way of applying coherentism approach or by deducing new set of rules. Application of the law of tort, specifically strict product liability on AI enabled products is one of such proposed methods. However, the distinctive attributes of AI, such as, unpredictability, inexplicability etc. makes application of product liability rules cumbersome. The present paper attempts to address in general the benefits and challenges behind the application of product liability rules in AI enabled entities. Further, the researcher will scrutinise the newly enacted legislation relating to product liability in India, i.e., the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 in the context of emergence of AI products. The said Act of 2019 recognises the product liability of three different categories of persons, viz., product manufacturer, product service provider and product seller. Each of these categories will be discussed in detail in order to find out whether Act of 2019 is well-equipped to deal with disruptions caused due to AI.


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