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AI, Animals and the Law in Focus at Fall LEAP Speaker Series  

Dealing with complex legal and ethical considerations regarding non-humans of all kinds are among the key features of this year’s Law, Ethics & Animals Program (LEAP) speaker series hosted by Yale Law School.

artificial intelligence 3382507 640 smallThe series is set to kick off on Thursday, Sept. 8, and will feature guests and experts from institutions around the country. The first event, “Challenging Carceral Logics,” brings together Wesleyan University’s Lori Gruen, the University of Denver’s Justin Marceau and Yale Law School’s Reginald Dwayne Betts and Michael Braham, according to the series announcement.

“Carceral logics permeate our thinking about humans and nonhumans. We imagine that greater punishment will reduce crime and make society safer,” according to event materials. “We hope that more convictions and policing for animal crimes will protect animals from cruelty. But is incarcerating humans the appropriate response to violence against nonhuman animals?”

The event begins at 5 p.m., and those interested in attending can register here:

From Twitter

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Additionally, on Thursday, Sept. 29, an afternoon presentation will tackle growing concerns over how to treat artificial intelligence (AI) as both a matter of law and of practicality. The conversation will be driven by New York University’s Jeff Sebo, who has expressed concerns about sentient AI, namely how its widespread implementation could contribute to “global threats like war and totalitarianism that imperil us all.”

The space has taken on a prominent role in the zeitgeist as big technology companies continue to explore AI and its potential impact on society. Recently, former Google engineer Blake Lemoine was fired, per media reports, after telling The Washington Post he believes LaMDA, the company’s “artificially intelligent chatbot generator,” is sentient.

“Human use of nonhuman animals contributes to pandemics, climate change, and other global threats which, in turn, contribute to biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and nonhuman suffering,” according to promotional materials from the organizers. “Similar dynamics are emerging in human use of artificial intelligences.”

Sebo is the director of the Mind, Ethics, and Policy Program and Animal Studies M.A. Program at New York University. He also teaches courses related to the environment, bioethics, philosophy and law and sits on the executive committee of the NYU Center for Environmental and Animal Protection.

His presentation will also feature a question-and-answer segment moderated by LEAP Postgraduate Fellow Laurie Sellars. Register for “The Legal Status of Nonhuman Animals and Artificial Intelligences with Jeff Sebo” here:

Other events taking place later in the fall will tackle California’s Proposition 12—which according to information from Ballotpedia was approved in 2018 by nearly 63% of voters and addresses minimum space requirements for breeding pigs, veal and egg-laying hens—and its upcoming Supreme Court case as well as exploring the need for an updated regulatory framework recognizing the interconnectivity of the environment with humans and nonhumans.

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