False trial, real lawyers for Ava, artificial intelligence accused…

“I have nothing to add, thank you and at your service”, launches in her monotone voice the artificial intelligence (AI) Ava before the jury retires to deliberate on the charges against her, during a ‘a false lawsuit aimed at reflecting on the consequences of the irruption of this technology in our lives.

In an amphitheater of the Paris law school of Assas, the legal editor LexisNexis and the podcast editor Lacmé production recorded this week the trial of Ava, an imaginary cousin of Siri, Alexa and other voice assistants which proliferate today. today.

Ava is a fictional character, but the magistrate, the general counsel and the defense and civil party lawyers were embodied by real lawyers, secretaries of the Paris Bar Conference, distinguished each year in a prestigious competition of ‘eloquence.

In the scenario, Ava, a voice assistant, had become the confidante of Theo, 15, an unhappy teenager and target of bullying. She is accused of the count of forcible confinement which led to the death of the victim.

The six-part podcast of the trial will air in June via LexisNexis’ LinkedIn page and Youtube and will reveal details of the case, with the listener able to vote on a verdict at the end.

Of course, in real life, “it is the companies” which distributed Ava “and their leaders” who would be responsible before the courts for any harmful effects, recalls after the recording Clément Pialoux, who embodies, with his real dress lawyer, one of Ava’s defenders.

But this “poetic license” of his appearance in the box makes it possible to reflect on the consequences of the irruption of artificial intelligences in our lives, complete for AFP Basile Doganis, the author and director of the podcast.

– “Ethical choices” –

An artificial intelligence (AI) cannot be assimilated only to a dangerous object, a knife for example, the responsibility for the use of which rests solely with the user, he believes.

“It’s not the knife that decides to put itself in front of you, or to plant itself in your shoulder,” he says.

On the other hand, “there are intentionalities behind an AI (…) philosophical, ethical choices included in the programming which must be examined”, he underlines.

The algorithms that govern the content that social networks offer us are designed with “attention-grabbing mechanisms”, can do “product placement”, he recalls.

The hearings of the witnesses, in turn poignant, technical, or even funny, then the brilliant pleadings – written by the young lawyers themselves – take the listener on board.

“How many attacks on people will be considered collateral damage” to the irruption of AI in our lives, asks in his argument the lawyer for Théo’s mother, Chloé Laval.

“The construction of an artificial culprit will not take away the suffering” replies Clément Pialoux, defense lawyer. “Let’s not dump our human responsibilities on Ava”

LexisNexis, the sponsor of the podcast, was in any case very satisfied with this exercise in ethical and legal reflection, on a technology that it uses itself.

The publisher uses artificial intelligence to offer an automatic analysis tool for legislation and case law, intended for legal professionals.

By very quickly compiling a huge corpus of texts, the tool helps lawyers, for example, to quickly identify the most relevant arguments in a particular case.

“We have an ethical responsibility” in the design of this AI, “we are aware of it”, explains Philippe Carillon, the general manager of LexisNexis for the Europe / Africa / Middle East region.

This involves, for example, verifying that the data provided to the artificial intelligence “are representative of reality” and not biased, he explains.

Anyway, LexisNexis “does not see AI as capable of formulating legal reasoning” instead of a human, he points out.

“It helps our clients to save time and have different perspectives on a file, to help them make a better decision. But it cannot replace the lawyer,” he says.

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False trial, real lawyers for Ava, artificial intelligence accused…

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