Artificial Intelligence and the Law: $1.5 Million Grant Launches Research Project

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UCLA School of Law has received a $1.5 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project to study disruptive societal and legal changes stemming from artificial intelligence. The project will be led by UCLA Law’s Program on Understanding Law, Science and Evidence (PULSE).

Recent advances in face and voice recognition, automated translations and automated medical diagnoses illustrate the potential for artificial intelligence to alter myriad aspects of human life. Artificial intelligence may also pose risks that warrant coordinated responses to promote safety and other values.

The Open Philanthropy Project grant will support PULSE Fellowships in Artificial Intelligence, Law, and Policy — full-time academic positions dedicated to research and writing on the social, economic and legal implications of artificial intelligence and machine learning. PULSE will also organize workshops, exercises and publications that explore the rapidly advancing field of artificial intelligence safety and its legal and policy dimensions.

Parson and Re

Professors Edward Parson (top) and Richard Re.

UCLA Law professor Edward Parson and assistant professor Richard Re will head the project.

“The Open Philanthropy Project’s gift will support a much-needed inquiry into the effects of so-called transformative AI,” said Parson, UCLA Law’s Dan and Rae Emmett Professor of Environmental Law and faculty co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. “Technological innovation stands to deliver broad, significant, and as yet not-fully-imagined societal changes in the years to come, and forward-looking scholarship into how we and the law must adapt has never been more important.”

Added Re, faculty co-director of PULSE at UCLA Law, “This project offers a tremendous opportunity to engage students and scholars in unexamined questions that go to the heart of PULSE’s interdisciplinary mission, to explore the complex connections between law and new technologies.”

Founded in 2009, PULSE at UCLA Law engages in cutting-edge research and programming to uncover the ways in which innovations in science and evidence influence law and policy making.

The Open Philanthropy Project identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes its findings. Its main funding partners are Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook and Asana. The Open Philanthropy Project recently made a separate grant to UCLA Law for a study of climate engineering technology and its legal and policy impacts.

“Professors Richard Re and Ted Parson are both enormously creative and wide-ranging scholars and thinkers, and are ideally suited to spearhead this project,” said Jennifer L. Mnookin, Dean, David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law, and co-founder and faculty co-director of PULSE at UCLA Law.

“I am delighted that this significant grant from the Open Philanthropy Project provides UCLA Law and PULSE the chance to take a deep and thoughtful look at what developments in artificial intelligence are likely to mean for our future.”