Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Poster for Matthew SagStern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.

Livestream Link

The Regulation of AI in the Creative Economy

Matthew Sag,  Professor of Law in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Science at Emory University School of Law

Although we are still far from the science fiction version of artificial general intelligence that thinks, feels, and refuses to “open the pod bay doors,” we are clearly in the midst of a fundamental technological change. This presentation will address how Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Generative AI challenge existing legal frameworks and how copyright law in particular should respond.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) involves computer systems that can perform tasks that usually require human intelligence, judgement, or perception. AI today is mostly comprised of machine learning (ML). ML is a set of computational methods for classification and prediction based on clever processing of massive amounts of data without any explicit theory. ML models are inherently data dependent, and this presentation will explore some legal and social implications of that dependency. It will also outline how AI raises ethical and legal questions in relation to: the collection and extraction of data; the storage and sharing of data; the legitimacy of algorithmic decision-making; the social impact of algorithmic decision-making; and how the substitution of human decisionmakers/actors with AI systems creates various liability and regulatory puzzles that lawyers and policy makers will need to address in the coming years.

Generative AI poses some unique and challenging questions all of its own. We now have large language models (LLMs) that can pass the bar exam, carry on (what passes for) a conversation on almost any topic, create new music,  and create new visual art. These artifacts are often indistinguishable from their human authored counterparts,  and yet can be produced at a speed and scale that transcends human ability. And yet, these systems are hardly independent from humans. Generative AI systems like the GPT and LLaMA language models and the Stable Diffusion and Midjourney text-to-image models were built by ingesting massive quantities of text and images from the Internet. This was done with little or no regard to whether those works were subject to copyright and whether the authors would object. The rise of generative AI poses important questions for copyright law. These questions are not entirely new, however. Generative AI gives us yet another context to consider copyright’s most fundamental question: where do the rights of the copyright owner end, and the freedom to use copyrighted works begin?

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of English, educational studies, and mathematics & computer science, as well as the law & policy and film & media studies programs. This program was initiated by the Clarke Forum’s student project managers.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Matthew Sag is a professor of law in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science at Emory University School of Law. Professor Sag is an expert in copyright law and intellectual property. He is a leading U.S. authority on the fair use doctrine in copyright law and its implications for researchers in the fields of text data mining, machine learning, and AI.

Professor Sag was born and educated in Australia. He earned honors in law at the Australian National University in Canberra and clerked for Justice Paul Finn at the Australian Federal Court. Professor Sag practiced law in London as an associate at Arnold & Porter, and in Silicon Valley with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Prior to Emory, Professor Sag taught at DePaul University and Loyola Chicago; he has also held visiting posts at Northwestern University, the University of Virginia and the University of Melbourne.

Professor Sag’s research has been published in leading journals such as Nature and Science, and the law reviews of the University of California Berkeley, Georgetown, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Iowa and William & Mary, among others. He testified to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Intellectual Property in relation to copyright and Generative AI in July 2023. Professor Sag is widely cited in academic works, court submissions, judicial opinions, government reports, and in the media.

You can read about Professor Sag’s marathon times, science fiction recommendations, and his thoughts on being dyslexic at his personal website,