Imagine we are in 2035 at Smart City of Greater Noida, wherein automatic cargo trucks moving at high speed hits school bus and AI Robotic Cops reach crime scene and investigate. A law Smart Cities (Regulation of Product Liability) Act also brought into force in 2034.

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An autonomous articulated inter-model truck carrying cargo into a smart city of Greater Noida in 2035 was switched to autonomous mode. This vehicle programmed to protect the truck in crisis failed to control itself as huge sludge spilt from a leaked sewage system and hit a school bus killing 25 children and injuring 20 more. Robotic cops equipped with artificial intelligence arrived at the scene within minutes, gathered evidence of the accident and cleared the scene to enable free flow of traffic, ambulances rushed to the scene and carried the injured to trauma care centres of nearby hospitals.

After the media’s sensational reporting of ghastly accident, there was a huge public outcry throughout the state. A journalist on the beat of technology reported in detail the algorithm on which the software that preferred the security of freight in the truck over the lives of the people. Another newspaper pointed out break down of technology of the sewerage system and exposed the negligence. A criminal case was promptly registered at Greater Noida Smart City Police Station against the manufacturer of truck Ainetic Corporation, operator Smalogis Corporation, the ArtIntel Corporation which designed and developed software for Safecargo trucks, the CEO of Greater Noida Smart City, driver of the truck and the engineer of the building whose sewerage system failed.

An expert technical report commissioned by UP Police could prove that Safecargo was deliberately programmed to choose the preservation of cargo over prevention of loss of life in the event of an accident and that the Control and Command Centre failed to detect and alert the driver about the overflowing sludge on the road, oncoming school bus and presence of a cow on the road.

Who is liable? Is it the maker of the program (software) of safety? Manufacturer, or operator of truck? Vehicle owner? Or, the driver who switched it to auto mode? Or the engineer of building whose sewerage flew on road? Will they go to jail and pay compensation?

The law students are going to argue on these questions in the II Bennett National Moot Court Competition that begins tomorrow. Justice Gopala Gowda, former Judge of Supreme Court is inaugurating the competition and deliver keynote address on the independence and accountability of the judiciary. The moot court problem focuses on the constitutionality of technologies used in smart cities and practical issues in imposing civil and criminal liability on several corporate bodies which developed programs and software, fitted artificial intelligence equipment etc.

The problem is set by Advocates Swapna Sunder CEO, IP Dome Strategic Advisors and PVS Giridhar Advocate of Madras High Court. The teams consist of Advocates and Researchers chosen from their respective law schools, who present written memorials. The teams run through the preliminary, quarter, semi-final rounds. The final is judged by four eminent academicians and practitioners of law on 9th February followed by the presentation of awards in valedictory. The winners share Trophies and prize money of Rs 1 Lakh.

The School of Law, Bennett University successfully conducted the first edition of the National Moot Court Competition (BNMCC) in 2019, and now hosting the second edition- the BNMCC- 2020 which will witness the zealous competition between 28 teams representing leading law-schools of the country.

‘Mooting’, apart from being a mandatory clinical course in the 5-year law programme, equips the students with numerous skills of effective lawyering. The event provides the students with the rich experience of organising the national event, mooting skills and understanding the courtroom culture. Also, it serves as an ideal occasion to showcase the fast-growing academic wealth of the BU Schools to the visitors and Judges. The students find a fertile platform for networking professionally with peers and seniors of the legal fraternity.

Carving a niche in legal education, the Bennett University is focusing on ‘Technology Laws’ through this Moot Court competition, that facilitates the robust legal argumentation on this growing field of Artificial Intelligence.

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