Artificial intelligence (AI) has experienced remarkable advancements in recent years, playing a pivotal role in revolutionizing various sectors, notably the financial industry and healthcare services. As AI technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, the regulatory framework governing this rapidly expanding field is struggling to keep up. Thailand, in response to these developments, has taken a stance on AI by recognizing its legal status as property within the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand (CCC). This recognition signifies the potential value of AI and establishes that the creators of AI algorithms possess ownership rights. Furthermore, Thailand has also classified AI as a computer program, making it eligible for protection under intellectual property laws, specifically the Copyright Act of Thailand. However, the status of AI in relation to the Patent Act of Thailand is less clear. This article explores the legal intricacies surrounding AI regulations in Thailand, highlighting the proposed Draft Royal Decree on Artificial Intelligence System Service Business (the “Draft”) introduced by the Office of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission (ONDE) to address this evolving landscape.
I. AI as Property
The classification of AI as property is a notable step in recognizing the economic and legal implications of AI in Thailand. Under the CCC, AI is considered valuable, and those who create AI algorithms hold legal ownership rights. This recognition opens the door for individuals and entities to exercise control over their AI creations and reinforces the concept of AI as a valuable asset in the legal landscape.
II. Protection Under Copyright Law
AI’s classification as a computer program within the Copyright Act of Thailand extends a layer of protection to its creators. This protection pertains to the code and structure of the AI, safeguarding it from unauthorized copying or distribution. However, it is important to note that this protection primarily encompasses the creative and original aspects of AI and may not cover broader implications, such as the functioning and applications of AI.
III. Uncertainties Under the Patent Act
The application of the Patent Act of Thailand to AI remains uncertain due to limitations in the Act’s scope. Notably, the Act does not provide protection for inventions related to computer programs or scientific and mathematical theories, including algorithms. This limitation raises questions regarding the extent to which AI innovations can be patented. The intersection of AI and patent law remains an area of legal ambiguity in Thailand, necessitating further consideration and potential legislative adjustments.
IV. The Draft Royal Decree on Artificial Intelligence System Service Business
Recognizing the need for comprehensive regulation of AI, the ONDE has introduced the Draft Royal Decree on Artificial Intelligence System Service Business. The Draft offers a definition of AI as a machine-based system capable of making predictions, recommendations, or decisions that impact real or virtual environments in accordance with human-defined objectives. Additionally, the Draft addresses the potential risks associated with AI, particularly high-risk AI systems that may pose dangers. The Draft establishes criteria and procedures aimed at mitigating these risks.
The evolving field of AI presents numerous legal challenges and opportunities in Thailand. The recognition of AI as property and its protection under copyright law provide a degree of clarity for creators and innovators. However, uncertainties persist regarding the applicability of patent law to AI-related inventions. The introduction of the Draft Royal Decree on Artificial Intelligence System Service Business by the ONDE is a significant step toward addressing these challenges, providing a framework for the regulation of AI systems and defining the boundaries of AI in the Thai legal landscape. As AI continues to shape the future of various industries, Thailand’s legal framework will inevitably undergo further developments to adapt to the evolving technology.