Symposium on “Artificial Intelligence and the Law”

Document Type


Publication Date

March 2019


Opening Remarks, Symposium on “Artificial Intelligence and the Law”, Fifth Annual Conference of Brazilian and American Judges. (March 7-8, 2019)


On March 7-8, 2019, American University Washington College of Law’s Brazil-U.S. Legal and Judicial Studies Program hosted its Fifth Annual Conference of Brazilian and American Judges, entitled “Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and the Law.”The Fifth Annual Conference of Brazilian and American Judges, “Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and the Law.”
The symposium, co-presented by the Instituto Justiça & Cidadania, featured justices from Brazil’s Superior Tribunal of Justice (STJ), federal and state courts, executive agency directors, law professor, and attorneys.Senior U.S. Federal Judge for the District Court of Maryland Peter J. Messitte, AUWCL adjunct professor and director of the Brazil-U.S. Program, welcomed attendees to the two-day conference. Professor and International Legal Studies Program Director Padideh Ala’i, STJ Minister President João Otávio de Noronha, Instituto Justiça & Cidadania Director Tiago Santos Salles, and Antônio Augusto Coelho, Esq. of Gonçalves Coelho Law Firm, also offered welcoming remarks.
The event featured a number of panel discussions on AI related topics, including GovTech and regulatory considerations, ethics and liability, data protection and cyber security, online dispute resolution, and legal perspectives on the use of Blockchain and the sharing economy, among others.American University Kogod School of Business Professor Erran Carmel, director of Kogod’s Business in the Capital Center, called AI an emerging technology – one that “we don’t quite know how to manage yet within our large corporations and our governments.”
“When we talk about emerging technology, we’re not talking about a gadget – We’re talking about a big umbrella with a large class of technologies,” he said. “AI is the ability of a machine to perform cognitive functions we associate with the human mind: perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting with the environment, problem solving, creativity.”
Many judges and lawyers are already familiar with electronic filings, video conferencing, online data management, case management, and certain web-based services that have helped to establish modern efficiencies in courts, Messitte said.
“In different states in the U.S., they’re already using predictive algorithms to determine decisions – for example, to decide pre-release conditions and what the likelihood of recidivism is when it comes to sentencing, and what sentencing should be imposed,” Messitte said, adding that his hope is for these emerging technologies to “improve legal systems and increase access to justice.”

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