AI & Law: Legal Proximate Cause Upset Via AI

Lance Eliot
6 min readJun 1, 2023
Issues of legal proximate cause due to AI

by Dr. Lance B. Eliot

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Key briefing points about this article:

  • The legal element of proximate cause is well-established in our courts and jurisprudence
  • A key facet entails the identification of a cause or series of causes leading to an injury
  • Some in AI are claiming that Machine Learning might defy proximate cause
  • Few buy into that claim, a different claim about multitudes of AI systems is given more merit
  • A now-classic legal research paper posits that Distributed AI (DAI) might be problematic


The legal notion of proximate cause comes up repeatedly in law school and serves as a key tool when practicing law. It is hard to imagine the law without also having at hand this keystone of legal constructs. You likely are immersed in proximate cause discussions or legal debates on a daily basis.

All this suggests that it might be handy to periodically take another look at what…



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.