ECAI 2004 Conference Paper

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Artificial agents - personhood in law and philosophy

Samir Chopra, Laurence White

Thinking about how the law might decide whether to extend legal personhood to artificial agents provides a valuable test-bed for philosophical theories of mind. We begin with a naïve thesis about the extent to which philosophical and legal theorising about personhood can be mutually informing. We then investigate two case studies, drawing on legal discussions of the status of artificial agents . The first case study looks at the doctrinal difficulties presented by the contracts entered into by artificial agents. We conclude that it is not necessary or desirable to postulate artificial agents as legal persons in order to account for such contracts. The second case study looks at the potential for according sophisticated artificial agents with legal personality with attendant constitutional protections similar to those accorded to humans. We investigate the validity of attributes that have been suggested as pointers of personhood, and conclude that they will take their place within a broader matrix of pragmatic, philosophical and extra-legal concepts.

Keywords: Philosophical Foundations, Autonomous Agents, Legal Theory of Agents

Citation: Samir Chopra, Laurence White: Artificial agents - personhood in law and philosophy. In R.López de Mántaras and L.Saitta (eds.): ECAI2004, Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IOS Press, Amsterdam, 2004, pp.635-639.

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ECAI-2004 is organised by the European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence (ECCAI) and hosted by the Universitat Politècnica de València on behalf of Asociación Española de Inteligencia Artificial (AEPIA) and Associació Catalana d'Intel-ligència Artificial (ACIA).