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Harmon L. (Monty) Cooper is a counsel in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office, where he is a member of the Mass Tort, Product, and Consumer Litigation and Environment & Natural Resources groups.

Monty is both a counselor and trial lawyer, whose practice focuses on product liability, environmental, and complex civil litigation. He has litigated tort and contract cases across the country, advising clients in high-exposure litigation in numerous venues. He has defended major oil companies in product liability litigation and property damage claims arising from environmental issues (e.g., MTBE litigation). Monty also provides counsel in non-litigation matters, including concerning property-transfer laws and regulatory and legislative matters affecting the mining industry.

On May 21, 2021, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (“CPSC”) published a report on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in consumer products. The report highlights recent CPSC staff activity concerning AI and ML, proposes a framework for evaluating the potential safety impact of AI and ML capabilities in consumer products, and makes several recommendations that the CPSC can take in identifying and addressing potential hazards related to AI and ML capabilities in consumer products.

Concerning staff activity, CPSC recently hired a Chief Technologist with a background in AI and ML to address the use of AI in consumer products. The CPSC also recently established an “AI/ML Working Group” and held a virtual forum on AI and ML in March 2021.

Informed by the discussions held with various stakeholders at this forum, the CPSC staff has proposed a framework in the report for evaluating the potential safety impact of AI and ML in consumer products. The framework’s first step involves screening products for AI and ML “components.” The CPSC and stakeholders have identified the following components to be essential to producing an AI capability: data sources, algorithms, computations, and connections. Likewise, the CPSC and stakeholders have found the following components to define ML capabilities: assessing and monitoring outputs, analyzing and modeling changes, and adjusting and adapting behavior over time. The framework’s second step involves assessing the functions and features of consumer products’ AI and ML capabilities. The third step involves understanding how products’ AI and ML capabilities may impact consumers, which can be accomplished by studying the nature of the technology, how it is implemented in the product, and how the consumer might use the product. The final step involves ascertaining if, and to what extent, AI and ML capabilities may transform the product and/or its use over time.
Continue Reading CPSC Publishes Report on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

On April 8, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a blog post titled, “Using Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms,” that offers important lessons about the use of AI and algorithms in automated decision-making.

The post begins by noting that headlines today tout rapid improvements in AI technology, and the use of more advanced