Can I Be Charged For A Crime Committed By An AI?

Artificial intelligence is increasingly being used by businesses as a way to be more productive, process data, and complete tasks that were previously not possible. However, it is also possible that an artificial intelligence program can be used to cause harm, and legal professionals have been grappling with the question of whether the owner of an AI system should be held liable for injuries caused by an AI system.

The Law Applies to the Human

The law applies to the human who was in control of the AI even if the action was committed by the AI. For example, if an AI is able to access a system to extract data in an autonomous manner, the creator of the AI is still responsible for the unauthorized access to the data and could be held criminally liable. 

AI Sometimes Act On Their Own

Some AI will act in a manner that was not intended by the designers. Therefore, if the AI acts in a manner that the designer does not intend, some legal scholars question whether the AI should have mens rea.

Mens rea is an important legal concept where the entity must be capable of understanding that their actions were illegal. During the medieval era, animals were charged with crimes and convicted. However, this is no longer allowed due to the concept of mens rea.

The problem is that AI can have knowledge and intent, which are prerequisites to be charged with a crime. Therefore, they might technically fall under mens rea, but some legal scholars believe that there would be no benefit to charging AI with a crime. 

Criminal Liability for an AI

If you are in possession of an AI and you are under investigation, you will want to get in contact with a criminal defense attorney who works with a law firm that has experience with computer crimes. An expert witness with knowledge of sophisticated computer systems will be able to help craft an argument for why you should not be held criminally liable for the actions of the AI.

To be accused of a crime, you will need to have specific intent, and this must be proven beyond a shadow of doubt. The AI might be entirely at fault for the crime after acting in a manner that you did not intend. However, since this is a developing area of law, you'll need an attorney who is familiar with the latest case law.

To learn more, contact a criminal defense law attorney.