A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents

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University of Michigan Press, Jul 18, 2011 - Law - 252 pages
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“An extraordinarily good synthesis from an amazing range of philosophical, legal, and technological sources . . .  the book will appeal to legal academics and students, lawyers involved in e-commerce and cyberspace legal issues, technologists, moral philosophers, and intelligent lay readers interested in high tech issues, privacy, [and] robotics.”
—Kevin Ashley, University of Pittsburgh School of Law



 



As corporations and government agencies replace human employees with online customer service and automated phone systems, we become accustomed to doing business with nonhuman agents. If artificial intelligence (AI) technology advances as today’s leading researchers predict, these agents may soon function with such limited human input that they appear to act independently. When they achieve that level of autonomy, what legal status should they have?



Samir Chopra and Laurence F. White present a carefully reasoned discussion of how existing philosophy and legal theory can accommodate increasingly sophisticated AI technology. Arguing for the legal personhood of an artificial agent, the authors discuss what it means to say it has “knowledge” and the ability to make a decision. They consider key questions such as who must take responsibility for an agent’s actions, whom the agent serves, and whether it could face a conflict of interest.



 

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Artificial Agents and Agency
5
Artificial Agents and Contracts
29
Attribution of Knowledge to Artificial Agents and Their Principals
71
Tort Liability for Artificial Agents
119
Personhood for Artificial Agents
153
Notes
193
References
221
Index
243
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Samir Chopra is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.



Laurence F. White is a lawyer and policymaker specializing in law and technology and financial markets regulation.

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