Artificial Intelligence law a key gap in tech journey


AI is free of the many human limitations, giving it a bigger energy. FILE PHOTO | NMG



  • There is no stand-alone law yet on Artificial Intelligence.

Disruptive innovation refers to where a smaller business challenges an established operator by building a new market segment in same or sister sector.

Kenya has a chain of such innovations that are competing effectively with the known names.

Then there is Artificial Intelligence employed using computer systems to simulate human intelligence.

Robots are one good example.

AI would mainly be covered under computer and tech-related laws.

The application of AI covers a wide spectrum of services. For example, in the legal profession, it is used in research and drafting of pleadings.

In health, a robot is able to perform precision surgeries. It has been used a lot in the manufacturing industry, for example in factories where robots assemble vehicle parts.

A Forbes article, Africa ICT Outlook 2018/2019, describes in detail the features or a robot kitchen.

The robot chef cooks many types of ingredients and serve them. The restaurant that applies this robot tech obviously boasts higher output than normal ones manned by natural human beings.

What are some of the AI pros? Output has less errors as compared to what human beings churn out.

Robots put in long hours and are not limited by the challenges like ill-health, hunger and similar inabilities.

Increased use of robots and AI may help business compete effectively due to the higher output because of Artificial Intelligence.

AI can give a business a reputation and the computers or technology can increase the book value of business.

These are intangible assets that ought to be valued and protected through intellectual property laws, where the same is applicable.

Some would qualify as patents, utility models or copyrights, depending on their features.

However, the use of Artificial Intelligence has several cons.

One, it raises a lot of ethical and moral considerations. In this way, the industries in which Artificial Intelligence may be used are limited.

For example, the proposed use of robot soldiers or a robot army raised serious moral considerations that were the subject of global sanctioning.

It was largely feared that such armies would be dangerous if they fell in the wrong hands.

Labour market

Use of Artificial Intelligence would have a negative effect on the labour market.

Robots would compete with human beings for jobs, therefore, having serious social and economic repercussions.

The increased use of Artificial Intelligence means there would be little need to hire people for tasks.

It may also mean having to fire employees to give room to a tech-enabled workforce whose power defies limitations like health and skills.

If the process isn’t well executed it may expose the business to litigation.

In Kenya, any redundancies must be done according to the law, otherwise it would be null and void.

The question, therefore, for an employer is, would they be willing to embrace AI over natural persons who have needs?

There is no stand-alone law yet on Artificial Intelligence.