I’m a little alike
You before things had changed
In a compass, I ride
All this feels rearranged
I mentioned before that I was at the AI Summit 2018 and while I was there I got into a conversation about bots making decisions and taking actions, including potentially actions that would constitute the formation of legal contracts. Normal contract formation requries, among other things, a couple of parties to the contract and a mutual intent to be legally bound. So, let’s imagine a situation a little alike that but which feels a bit rearranged; a contracting transaction between a human customer and a company which is represented by some form of artificial intelligence, such as bot.
Tell me, does it matter
If I’m still here, or I’m gone?
Shifting to the after
An impostor, I’m not the one you know
Ok, so between a human customer and a human employee of the company, we generally see not much problem in inferring the intent of both humans and that the human employee has intent and authority to bind the company. But if the company’s representation in the transaction is shifted to an AI bot, how do we determine the intent of the bot or the company? Is the intent still there or is it gone?
I look the same outside
Nearly me even though
I carry something I hide
Underneath the one you know
It seems to me that there will have to be some sort of doctrine, whether by statute or court decisions, that imputes intent to the action of launching the AI bot which enters into the contract. In other words, the law will have to accept that the company had the intent of being legally bound by all contracts that the AI bot enters into on its behalf, even though such contracts would be future contracts and the human customer counterparties to such contracts would be unknown at the time the AI bot was launched. It would be almost a quasi-agency theory except you’re designating your own software as an agent. The AI bot carries the hidden intent of the company.
Are you surprised black water flows
From wells run dry?
I’m not the one you know
OK, so what if we now also replace the human customer with an AI bot that represents them? What black water of legal theory flows to explain a formation of a contract in that scenario? Especially if both the human customer and the corporate entity are basically unaware that the contract is being formed. I don’t have an answer on that one.
Lay me out with our guilt
Watch the explosions fall, rain
Cannot live within this tilt
I’m not the one you know
But mostly I’ll plead guilty to this whole post being an excuse to post an excellent new Alice in Chains song. I have no idea what is going on in the video.