AI & Law: Legal Entanglements Of Banning AI Arise Even In The Case Of Autonomous Weapons

Lance Eliot
6 min readJul 23, 2022
Legally banning AI might not be so easy, here’s why

by Dr. Lance B. Eliot

For a free podcast of this article, visit this link or find our AI & Law podcast series on Spotify, iTunes, iHeartRadio, plus on other audio services. For the latest trends about AI & Law, visit our website

Key briefing points about this article:

  • AI has gotten into trouble and transcended the initial professed welcoming
  • We have discovered that AI systems can embed all kinds of unsavory aspects
  • Debates about what type of AI should be legally banned is an ongoing exercise
  • It might seem obvious that a legal ban on AI for autonomous weapons should occur
  • A close look at the autonomous weapons issue showcases tradeoffs exist even there


Ban that darned AI.

That is the rallying cry for many that have become fed up with the foul deeds being performed by some AI systems. Perhaps the most prominent such proclamation of recent note entails the use of AI-based facial recognition systems.

Whereas the original assumption was that facial recognition would be a quite handy form of technology, the seedy underbelly of this particular kind of AI-infused high-tech was soon revealed. Turns out that the software tended at times to embed various racial and gender-related biases. Some attributed this to the nature of the AI developers that put together this kind of tech. Others pointed out that the data used to train the Machine Learning algorithms contained intrinsic biases that got carried over into the everyday functioning of the facial recognition systems.

In any case, a variety of legally imposed bans were quickly enacted. Some of the bans were extremely restrictive and nearly choked off any commercial use of facial recognition in predefined circumstances. Meanwhile, other bans were much milder. The mildest bans were accused of being so watered down that they essentially carried no legally useful weight at all.

Part of the problem with imposing a ban on AI-related tech is that there are two sides to the…

Lance Eliot

Dr. Lance B. Eliot is a renowned global expert on AI, successful startup founder, global CIO/CTO, , was a top exec at a major Venture Capital (VC) firm.