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Orthogonalizing Inputs, Talia B. Gillis Jan 2024

Orthogonalizing Inputs, Talia B. Gillis

Faculty Scholarship

This paper examines an approach to algorithmic discrimination that seeks to blind predictions to protected characteristics by orthogonalizing inputs. The approach uses protected characteristics (such as race or sex) during the training phase of a model but masks these during deployment. The approach posits that including these characteristics in training prevents correlated features from acting as proxies, while assigning uniform values to them at deployment ensures decisions do not vary by group status.

Using a prediction exercise of loan defaults basedon mortgage HMDA data and German credit data, the paper highlights the limitations of this orthogonalization strategy. Applying a lasso …


After Ftx: Can The Original Bitcoin Use Case Be Saved?, Mark Burge Dec 2023

After Ftx: Can The Original Bitcoin Use Case Be Saved?, Mark Burge

Faculty Scholarship

Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies spawned by the innovation of blockchain programming have exploded in prominence, both in gains of massive market value and in dramatic market losses, the latter most notably seen in connection with the failure of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange in November 2022. After years of investment and speculation, however, something crucial has faded: the original use case for Bitcoin as a system of payment. Can cryptocurrency-as-a-payment-system be saved, or are day traders and speculators the actual cryptocurrency future? This article suggests that cryptocurrency has been hobbled by a lack of foundational commercial and consumer-protection law that …


Confidentiality Clauses In Settlement Agreements After The Consumer Review Fairness Act, Wayne Barnes Jul 2023

Confidentiality Clauses In Settlement Agreements After The Consumer Review Fairness Act, Wayne Barnes

Faculty Scholarship

Online commerce has skyrocketed in recent years, and shoppers are purchasing goods or services online in greater numbers every year. The COVID-19 pandemic has only hastened the trend. One significant aspect of online shopping is the presence of consumer reviews posted by prior purchasers of goods or services, describing their experience with the products, the services and/or the selling merchant. A vast majority of online shoppers say that they rely on these reviews to help inform their purchasing decisions. Positive reviews can be tremendously beneficial to a business’ profitability, whereas negative reviews can be equally detrimental. Users of the internet …


The Common Law Inside Social Media, Anita Bernstein May 2023

The Common Law Inside Social Media, Anita Bernstein

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Mass E-Carceration: Electronic Monitoring As A Bail Condition, Sara Zampierin May 2023

Mass E-Carceration: Electronic Monitoring As A Bail Condition, Sara Zampierin

Faculty Scholarship

Over the past decade, the immigration and criminal legal systems have increasingly relied on electronic monitoring as a bail condition; hundreds of thousands of people live under this monitoring on any given day. Decisionmakers purport to impose these conditions to release more individuals from detention and to maintain control over individuals they perceive to pose some risk of flight or to public safety. But the data do not show that electronic monitoring successfully mitigates these risks or that it leads to fewer individuals in detention. Electronic monitoring also comes with severe restrictions on individual liberty and leads to harmful effects …


The Role Of Ethical Principles In Ai Startups, James Bessen, Stephen Michael Impink, Robert Seamans Mar 2023

The Role Of Ethical Principles In Ai Startups, James Bessen, Stephen Michael Impink, Robert Seamans

Faculty Scholarship

Do high-tech startups benefit from developing more ethical AI? AI startups implement policies and take actions to manage ethical issues associated with data collection, storage, and usage and adapt to the norms of their industry. This paper describes these startups' ethics-related actions, including ethical AI policy adoption, and examines how these actions relate to startup performance. We find that merely adopting an ethical AI policy (i.e., a less costly signal) does not relate to increased performance. However, there is evidence that investors reward startups that take more costly preventative pro-ethics actions, like seeking expert guidance, training employees about unconscious bias, …


The Failure Of Market Efficiency, William Magnuson Jan 2023

The Failure Of Market Efficiency, William Magnuson

Faculty Scholarship

Recent years have witnessed the near total triumph of market efficiency as a regulatory goal. Policymakers regularly proclaim their devotion to ensuring efficient capital markets. Courts use market efficiency as a guiding light for crafting legal doctrine. And scholars have explored in great depth the mechanisms of market efficiency and the role of law in promoting it. There is strong evidence that, at least on some metrics, our capital markets are indeed more efficient than they have ever been. But the pursuit of efficiency has come at a cost. By focusing our attention narrowly on economic efficiency concerns—such as competition, …


Algorithmic Governance From The Bottom Up, Hannah Bloch-Wehba Nov 2022

Algorithmic Governance From The Bottom Up, Hannah Bloch-Wehba

Faculty Scholarship

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are both a blessing and a curse for governance. In theory, algorithmic governance makes government more efficient, more accurate, and more fair. But the emergence of automation in governance also rests on public-private collaborations that expand both public and private power, aggravate transparency and accountability gaps, and create significant obstacles for those seeking algorithmic justice. In response, a nascent body of law proposes technocratic policy changes to foster algorithmic accountability, ethics, and transparency.

This Article examines an alternative vision of algorithmic governance, one advanced primarily by social and labor movements instead of technocrats and firms. …


Using Artificial Intelligence In The Law Review Submissions Process, Brenda M. Simon Nov 2022

Using Artificial Intelligence In The Law Review Submissions Process, Brenda M. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

The use of artificial intelligence to help editors examine law review submissions may provide a way to improve an overburdened system. This Article is the first to explore the promise and pitfalls of using artificial intelligence in the law review submissions process. Technology-assisted review of submissions offers many possible benefits. It can simplify preemption checks, prevent plagiarism, detect failure to comply with formatting requirements, and identify missing citations. These efficiencies may allow editors to address serious flaws in the current selection process, including the use of heuristics that may result in discriminatory outcomes and dependence on lower-ranked journals to conduct …


Bridging The Computer Science – Law Divide, Azer Bestavros, Stacey Dogan, Paul Ohm, Andrew Sellars Nov 2022

Bridging The Computer Science – Law Divide, Azer Bestavros, Stacey Dogan, Paul Ohm, Andrew Sellars

Faculty Scholarship

Many pressing societal questions can be answered only by bringing experts from different disciplines together. Questions around misinformation and disinformation, platform power, surveillance capitalism, information privacy, and algorithmic bias, among many others, reside at the intersection of computer science and law. We need to develop institutions that bring together computer scientists and legal scholars to work together on issues like these, and to train new innovators, thought leaders, counselors, and policymakers with hybrid training in both disciplines. In Universities, the disciplines of Computer Science (CS) and Law are separated by many wide chasms. Differences in standards, language, methods, and culture …


Content Moderation As Surveillance, Hannah Bloch-Wehba Oct 2022

Content Moderation As Surveillance, Hannah Bloch-Wehba

Faculty Scholarship

Technology platforms are the new governments, and content moderation is the new law, or so goes a common refrain. As platforms increasingly turn toward new, automated mechanisms of enforcing their rules, the apparent power of the private sector seems only to grow. Yet beneath the surface lies a web of complex relationships between public and private authorities that call into question whether platforms truly possess such unilateral power. Law enforcement and police are exerting influence over platform content rules, giving governments a louder voice in supposedly “private” decisions. At the same time, law enforcement avails itself of the affordances of …


Bilski And The Information Age A Decade Later, Michael J. Meurer Jan 2022

Bilski And The Information Age A Decade Later, Michael J. Meurer

Faculty Scholarship

In the years from State Street in 1999 to Alice in 2014, legal scholars vigorously debated whether patents should be used to incentivize the invention of business methods. That attention has waned just as economists have produced important new research on the topic, and just as artificial intelligence and cloud computing are changing the nature of business method innovation. This chapter rejoins the debate and concludes that the case for patent protection of business methods is weaker now than it was a decade ago.


Legislating Data Loyalty, Woodrow Hartzog, Neil Richards Jan 2022

Legislating Data Loyalty, Woodrow Hartzog, Neil Richards

Faculty Scholarship

Lawmakers looking to embolden privacy law have begun to consider imposing duties of loyalty on organizations trusted with people’s data and online experiences. The idea behind loyalty is simple: organizations should not process data or design technologies that conflict with the best interests of trusting parties. But the logistics and implementation of data loyalty need to be developed if the concept is going to be capable of moving privacy law beyond its “notice and consent” roots to confront people’s vulnerabilities in their relationship with powerful data collectors.

In this short Essay, we propose a model for legislating data loyalty. Our …


Transparency's Ai Problem, Hannah Bloch-Wehba Jun 2021

Transparency's Ai Problem, Hannah Bloch-Wehba

Faculty Scholarship

A consensus seems to be emerging that algorithmic governance is too opaque and ought to be made more accountable and transparent. But algorithmic governance underscores the limited capacity of transparency law—the Freedom of Information Act and its state equivalents—to promote accountability. Drawing on the critical literature on “open government,” this Essay shows that algorithmic governance reflects and amplifies systemic weaknesses in the transparency regime, including privatization, secrecy, private sector cooptation, and reactive disclosure. These deficiencies highlight the urgent need to reorient transparency and accountability law toward meaningful public engagement in ongoing oversight. This shift requires rethinking FOIA’s core commitment to …


A Unified Theory Of Data, William Magnuson Feb 2021

A Unified Theory Of Data, William Magnuson

Faculty Scholarship

How does the proliferation of data in our modern economy affect our legal system? Scholars that have addressed the question have nearly universally agreed that the dramatic increases in the amount of data available to companies, as well as the new uses to which that data is being put, raise fundamental problems for our regulatory structures. But just what those problems might be remains an area of deep disagreement. Some argue that the problem with data is that current uses lead to discriminatory results that harm minority groups. Some argue that the problem with data is that it impinges on …


Beyond Transparency And Accountability: Three Additional Features Algorithm Designers Should Build Into Intelligent Platforms, Peter K. Yu Jan 2021

Beyond Transparency And Accountability: Three Additional Features Algorithm Designers Should Build Into Intelligent Platforms, Peter K. Yu

Faculty Scholarship

In the age of artificial intelligence, innovative businesses are eager to deploy intelligent platforms to detect and recognize patterns, predict customer choices and shape user preferences. Yet such deployment has brought along the widely documented problems of automated systems, including coding errors, corrupt data, algorithmic biases, accountability deficits and dehumanizing tendencies. In response to these problems, policymakers, commentators and consumer advocates have increasingly called on businesses seeking to ride the artificial intelligence wave to build transparency and accountability into algorithmic designs.

While acknowledging these calls for action and appreciating the benefits and urgency of building transparency and accountability into algorithmic …


Beyond Algorithms: Toward A Normative Theory Of Automated Regulation, Felix Mormann Jan 2021

Beyond Algorithms: Toward A Normative Theory Of Automated Regulation, Felix Mormann

Faculty Scholarship

The proliferation of artificial intelligence in our daily lives has spawned a burgeoning literature on the dawn of dehumanized, algorithmic governance. Remarkably, the scholarly discourse overwhelmingly fails to acknowledge that automated, non-human governance has long been a reality. For more than a century, policymakers have relied on regulations that automatically adjust to changing circumstances, without the need for human intervention. This article surveys the track record of self-adjusting governance mechanisms to propose a normative theory of automated regulation.

Effective policymaking frequently requires anticipation of future developments, from technology innovation to geopolitical change. Self-adjusting regulation offers an insurance policy against the …


The Use Of Technical Experts In Software Copyright Cases: Rectifying The Ninth Circuit’S “Nutty” Rule, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Peter S. Menell Jan 2021

The Use Of Technical Experts In Software Copyright Cases: Rectifying The Ninth Circuit’S “Nutty” Rule, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Peter S. Menell

Faculty Scholarship

Courts have long been skeptical about the use of expert witnesses in copyright cases. More than four decades ago, and before Congress extended copyright law to protect computer software, the Ninth Circuit in Krofft Television Productions, Inc. v. McDonald’s Corp. ruled that expert testimony was inadmissible to determine whether Mayor McCheese and the merry band of McDonald’s characters infringed copyright protection for Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo and the other imaginative H.R. Pufnstuf costumed characters. Since the emergence of software copyright infringement cases in the 1980s, substantially all software copyright cases have permitted expert witnesses to aid juries in understanding software code. …


Artificial Financial Intelligence, William Magnuson Jul 2020

Artificial Financial Intelligence, William Magnuson

Faculty Scholarship

Recent advances in the field of artificial intelligence have revived long-standing debates about what happens when robots become smarter than humans. Will they destroy us? Will they put us all out of work? Will they lead to a world of techno-savvy haves and techno-ignorant have-nots? These debates have found particular resonance in finance, where computers already play a dominant role. High-frequency traders, quant hedge funds, and robo-advisors all represent, to a greater or lesser degree, real-world instantiations of the impact that artificial intelligence is having on the field. This Article will argue that the primary danger of artificial intelligence in …


The Algorithmic Divide And Equality In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence, Peter K. Yu Mar 2020

The Algorithmic Divide And Equality In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence, Peter K. Yu

Faculty Scholarship

In the age of artificial intelligence, highly sophisticated algorithms have been deployed to provide analysis, detect patterns, optimize solutions, accelerate operations, facilitate self-learning, minimize human errors and biases and foster improvements in technological products and services. Notwithstanding these tremendous benefits, algorithms and intelligent machines do not provide equal benefits to all. Just as the digital divide has separated those with access to the Internet, information technology and digital content from those without, an emerging and ever-widening algorithmic divide now threatens to take away the many political, social, economic, cultural, educational and career opportunities provided by machine learning and artificial intelligence. …


Artificial Intelligence Inventions & Patent Disclosure, Tabrez Y. Ebrahim Jan 2020

Artificial Intelligence Inventions & Patent Disclosure, Tabrez Y. Ebrahim

Faculty Scholarship

Artificial intelligence (“AI”) has attracted significant attention and has imposed challenges for society. Yet surprisingly, scholars have paid little attention to the impediments AI imposes on patent law’s disclosure function from the lenses of theory and policy. Patents are conditioned on inventors describing their inventions, but the inner workings and the use of AI in the inventive process are not properly understood or are largely unknown. The lack of transparency of the parameters of the AI inventive process or the use of AI makes it difficult to enable a future use of AI to achieve the same end state. While …


National Cybersecurity Innovation, Tabrez Y. Ebrahim Jan 2020

National Cybersecurity Innovation, Tabrez Y. Ebrahim

Faculty Scholarship

National cybersecurity plays a crucial role in protecting our critical infrastructure, such as telecommunication networks, the electricity grid, and even financial transactions. Most discussions about promoting national cybersecurity focus on governance structures, international relations, and political science. In contrast, this Article proposes a different agenda and one that promotes the use of innovation mechanisms for technological advancement. By promoting inducements for technological developments, such innovation mechanisms encourage the advancement of national cybersecurity solutions. In exploring possible solutions, this Article asks whether the government or markets can provide national cybersecurity innovation. This inquiry is a fragment of a much larger literature …


Cyberattacks And The Constitution, Matthew C. Waxman Jan 2020

Cyberattacks And The Constitution, Matthew C. Waxman

Faculty Scholarship

Contrary to popular view, cyberattacks alone are rarely exercises of constitutional war powers – and they might never be. They are often instead best understood as exercises of other powers pertaining to nonwar military, foreign affairs, intelligence, and foreign commerce, for example. Although this more fine-grained, fact-specific conception of cyberattacks leaves room for broad executive leeway in some contexts, it also contains a strong constitutional basis for legislative regulation of cyber operations.


Industry Concentration And Information Technology, James Bessen Jun 2019

Industry Concentration And Information Technology, James Bessen

Faculty Scholarship

Industry concentration has been rising in the US since 1980. Does this signal declining competition and need for a new antitrust policy? Or are other factors causing concentration to rise? This paper explores the role of proprietary information technology (IT), which could increase the productivity of top firms relative to others and raise their market share. Instrumental variable estimates find a strong link between proprietary IT and rising industry concentration, accounting for much of its growth. Moreover, the top four firms in each industry benefit disproportionately. Large investments in proprietary software—$250 billion per year—appear to significantly impact industry structure.


Data-Informed Duties In Ai Development, Frank A. Pasquale Jan 2019

Data-Informed Duties In Ai Development, Frank A. Pasquale

Faculty Scholarship

Law should help direct—and not merely constrain—the development of artificial intelligence (AI). One path to influence is the development of standards of care both supplemented and informed by rigorous regulatory guidance. Such standards are particularly important given the potential for inaccurate and inappropriate data to contaminate machine learning. Firms relying on faulty data can be required to compensate those harmed by that data use—and should be subject to punitive damages when such use is repeated or willful. Regulatory standards for data collection, analysis, use, and stewardship can inform and complement generalist judges. Such regulation will not only provide guidance to …


Authors And Machines, Jane C. Ginsburg, Luke Ali Budiardjo Jan 2019

Authors And Machines, Jane C. Ginsburg, Luke Ali Budiardjo

Faculty Scholarship

Machines, by providing the means of mass production of works of authorship, engendered copyright law. Throughout history, the emergence of new technologies tested the concept of authorship, and courts in response endeavored to clarify copyright’s foundational principles. Today, developments in computer science have created a new form of machine, the “artificially intelligent” (AI) system apparently endowed with “computational creativity.” AI systems introduce challenging variations on the perennial question of what makes one an “author” in copyright law: Is the creator of a generative program automatically the author of the works her process begets, even if she cannot anticipate the contents …


A Skeptical View Of Information Fiduciaries, Lina M. Khan, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

A Skeptical View Of Information Fiduciaries, Lina M. Khan, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

The concept of “information fiduciaries” has surged to the forefront of debates on online-platform regulation. Developed by Professor Jack Balkin, the concept is meant to rebalance the relationship between ordinary individuals and the digital companies that accumulate, analyze, and sell their personal data for profit. Just as the law imposes special duties of care, confidentiality, and loyalty on doctors, lawyers, and accountants vis-à-vis their patients and clients, Balkin argues, so too should it impose special duties on corporations such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter vis-à-vis their end users. Over the past several years, this argument has garnered remarkably broad support …


Data Generated By New Technologies And The Law: A Guide For Massachusetts Practitioners, Andrew Sellars Jan 2019

Data Generated By New Technologies And The Law: A Guide For Massachusetts Practitioners, Andrew Sellars

Faculty Scholarship

This brief paper, created as part of a training on new technologies and evidence for MCLE New England, outlines the standards used to compel disclosure of information under the Stored Communication Act, and reviews the types of data stored on various consumer devices and their likely custodians, as well as cases and notes relevant to each devices. The paper serves as a quick introduction and checklist for those considering gathering information from these devices in the course of investigations in Massachusetts. The devices outlined include cell phones, social media platforms, secure messaging services, fitness trackers, home assistant devices (or "smart …


Will Artificial Intelligence Eat The Law? The Rise Of Hybrid Social-Ordering Systems, Tim Wu Jan 2019

Will Artificial Intelligence Eat The Law? The Rise Of Hybrid Social-Ordering Systems, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

Software has partially or fully displaced many former human activities, such as catching speeders or flying airplanes, and proven itself able to surpass humans in certain contests, like Chess and Jeopardy. What are the prospects for the displacement of human courts as the centerpiece of legal decision-making? Based on the case study of hate speech control on major tech platforms, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, this Essay suggests displacement of human courts remains a distant prospect, but suggests that hybrid machine – human systems are the predictable future of legal adjudication, and that there lies some hope in that combination, …


Taxing & Zapping Marijuana: Blockchain Compliance In The Trump Administration Part 3, Richard Thompson Ainsworth, Brendan Magauran Aug 2018

Taxing & Zapping Marijuana: Blockchain Compliance In The Trump Administration Part 3, Richard Thompson Ainsworth, Brendan Magauran

Faculty Scholarship

This is the third of a five-part series dealing with the rescission by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the Obama-era policy that discouraged federal prosecutors from bringing charges in all but the most serious marijuana cases.

This article focuses on cyber-attacks on the main commercial chain, and the use of a private blockchain using HyperLedger Fabric as a platform.

This fraud is a direct, criminal attack; an attack designed to destroy/corrupt records of marijuana inventory and plant tags throughout the supply chain. The attack allows legalized marijuana to escape the system and be sold on the black market. A …