The concept of artificial intelligence dates at least as far back as 1950 when computer scientist Alan Turing set out his famous test for a computer that could fool a person in an adjoining room into believing he was conversing with a fellow human. The term itself was likely coined by Prof. John McCarthy of Dartmouth in 1956. Yet the term AI didn’t find its way into any reported federal case (and, even then, only in passing) until 1989. To date, the bulk of cases concerning AI concern intellectual property ownership issues and not its actual deployment in the real world.

It’s now commonplace to observe, as Professor Baker does in The Centaur’s Dilemma, that “law and policy rarely keep pace with technology,” but in the case of artificial intelligence it’s both obviously true and especially troubling. That’s because right now we’re standing at the precipice of an AI revolution and there is virtually no law to guide us. In The Centaur’s Dilemma, Professor Baker provides a thoughtful and thought-provoking account of where the law of AI should go (and where it may go if left unchecked) through the lens of national security, perhaps the area most acutely in need of legal guidance. When a pedestrian is killed by a driverless car, it’s a tragedy; when a non-combatant is killed by a lethal autonomous weapons system, it might well be a war crime.