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Katherine Sheriff: Pioneering the Legal Framework of AI

Season 2, Ep. 15

As AI becomes more advanced, we’ll continue to see it more frequently in our everyday lives. Nowhere is that more clear, or complicated, than on our roads. The roads of the future are going to be different, and AI technology will have to fit into a legal system that we’ve created specifically for the humans behind the wheels. 


The legal framework for AI is shaped by our early experiences with the technology, but it also has to depend heavily on simulations. It’s about contemplating every possible what-if scenario and preparing for it so that safety remains paramount. With that in mind, the legal questions start to roll in. Who bears responsibility for traffic violations or accidents involving automated vehicles? How do we reap the benefits of AI responsibly while minimizing the risks? 


In this episode of the Women Driving the Future series, Ed Bernardon interviews Katherine Sheriff. Katherine is an Associate at Davis Wright Tremaine, and she’s long been a pioneer in the area of AI law. When she was on the show two years ago, AI in transportation was a far-away dream. Today, that’s changed so much that even university courses have been shaped around this rapidly growing field. 


Today, we’ll talk about the evolution of AI law in recent years, the need to educate consumers about autonomous vehicles and terminology, and the increasing complexity of the legal system as AI continues to grow. 


Some Questions I Ask:

  • Why is AI Law so important? (5:22)
  • What have been the biggest changes over the past couple of years? (8:39)
  • Is AI legally considered a “person”? (24:51)
  • What are the easy rules that apply to autonomous vehicles and AI? (44:14)
  • How do you know what, and the level of aggressiveness, to program into AI? (50:53)
  • Can AI really be considered a person? (53:28)


What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • What inspired Katherine to pursue a career in mobility (3:21)
  • Where AI law is entering universities (12:18)
  • Safety considerations for AI (16:37)
  • Legal AI framework 101 (20:11)
  • The importance of consumer education (35:25)
  • The intersection of law and legal philosophy (42:05)


Connect With Katherine Sheriff:


Connect with Ed Bernardon:

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