Artificial Intelligence and Legal Personhood
Before discussing on the given topic and expressing our views on it, we
should be well versed with the terms 'Artificial Intelligence' and 'Legal
The ability of a robot controlled by a computer to perform task which are linked
with intelligent beings. Can be defined as Artificial Intelligence(AI). . The
term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with
the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to
reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience.
The development of digital computer dates back to 1940s and since then it has
been demonstrated that the computers an be used to carry out many complex task-
for example, playing chess or discovering proofs for mathematics theorems with
great efficiency. Though the development and advancement in speed, processing as
well as the memory capacity in computer processing continues, no programs can
yet be seen that could mat.
On the other hand, some programs have attained the performance levels of human
experts and professionals in performing certain specific tasks, so that
artificial intelligence in this limited sense is found in applications
as diverse as medical diagnosis, computer search engines, and voice or
handwriting recognition chat the match human flexibility over wider domains or
in tasks requiring much everyday knowledge.
Legal Personhood as per law can be defined as the capability of holding rights
and performing duties which also includes the ability to bear responsibility. In
other words a legal personhood does not generally refer to human beings but it
refers to any such human or non-human things to which the society has given
specific rights and obligations. It is possible that other than humans, other
entities or let's say non-human things such as corporations can claim legal
personhood as well.
We are very well aware about the fact that the article talks about giving legal
personhood to AI and the authors have provided with arguments both in favour as
well as against the respective issue. As the article is filled with the
arguments in favour as well as against the idea of giving legal personhood to
AI, it tries to deal with problem of the extent to which the extent to which
these rights should be granted to AI if they are give the status of legal
personhood. The article tries to solve the problem of obligation that will come
with the rights given to AI.
The article tries to deal mainly with the issue of
legal process that would be followed or the rules or laws that would have been
introduced in order to punish the entity called AI if something goes wrong due
to the actions performed by Artificial Intelligence. The article even tries to
deal with the issue of the laws required to protect the rights of AI system. The
question that comes is whether the rights of AI should be protected under human
laws or some laws must be drafted specially for the protection of the rights of
Arguments in favour
We all know that different corporations have been granted legal personality as
well as legal rights as these corporation act as an individual identity and even
can undergo legal actions, basically can be sued in the same way a person can be
sued in law. Though the corporation is controlled by a person but as the
corporation is considered as an individual identity, in case anything goes
wrong, the person controlling the company will not be held completely liable but
will be partly liable for the actions that are taken under by him the name of
In the same way, if AI is considered as a legal personality, it
would undergo legal actions and even face charges as are face by corporations if
anything goes wrong under the name of the legal entity. If something goes wrong
that involve the actions of AI and the wrong is because of the working of AI, AI
could be blamed and punish for the wrongs if it has a legal personhood. An
example that explains this statement and also acts as an argument that falls in
support of the legal personhood of AI is the use of automated driving system.
If, the negligence of automated driving system results in an accident, then the
driving system could he held liable for it. Though the punishment that would be
given to he driving system would be a bit different than the punishment that
would have been given to a person if the accident would have been caused due to
his/her negligence. The idea of granting legal personhood is not only to punish
but also to ensure that there is someone to reward when things go right.
rights that would be gr This has tended to be the approach in giving personhood
to nature. One could argue that such 'personality' is merely an artifice to
avoid problems of standing: enabling human individuals to act on behalf of a
nonhuman rights holder, rather than requiring them to establish standing in
their own capacity.30 In any case, it seems inapposite to the reasons for
considering personality of AI systems. anted to AI if they are given the status
of legal personhood, may be granted without obligations.
On the other hand AI
legal personality could come only with obligations. That might seem
superficially attractive, but insofar as those obligations are intended to
address accountability gaps there would be some obvious problems. Civil
liability typically leads to an award of damages, for example, which can only be
paid if the wrongdoer is capable of owning property.
Further as we all know that many non- human things present in many countries
that are granted personhood for example temples in India, a river in New Zeland.
This clearly justifies that granting personhood to non-biological or non-human
things is not a new thing and so one could say that AI could also be granted
legal personhood in every country.
Another thing that adds up to our argument is
the fact that the legal system recognizes two forms of legal person: natural and
judicial. Natural person are recognized merely on the fact that they are human
and judicial persons are those which are non- human and are granted certain
rights and duties by law. Business Corporations are one of the finest examples
of judicial person.
Many more non-human things, AI being one of them can be
given the status of judicial person with the help of law. One might argue that therobos, commonly recognized as Artificial Intelligence are not natural persons
and can not be considered as one but we all know that even the slaves and women
were not recognized as natural persons for centuries.
As already discussed, unlike the corporation, AI have not been granted the
status of legal personhood and so it does not the recognition for its work,
rather the person for whom it performed the task gets the reward and recognition
for it. It has been observed that in many countries that the publication of
Articles is done by AI but the rights and the profit is earned by the company
for which it is published. In order to stop these things from happening,
recognition of AI as a legal person is very important.
Arguments against the legal personhood
Tyler L. Jaynes, opposing the idea of conferring personhood writes that concept
of consciousness of AI is precursor for determining personhood and generating a
set definition of that is unattainable thus, a capricious standard to set when
determining the ability of an AI system to fetch legal personage. Our current
legal systems are not sufficiently equipped to handle the sentencing of AI
systems with huge development potential.
For instance, an NBI is sentenced to
several years of confinement within a correctional facility. While it may be
true that the convicted version of the NBI has been sent away for corrections, a
backup version of the NBI may exist on a different system. Unless the law is
willing to administer the same judgement for the replicated version of the
sentenced NBI or conclude that the same is equally guilty of the crime, there is
no feasible manner to conclude that current standards of sentencing will be
As AI-systems are emotionless, they feel no guilt and will not remorse
which is an important jurisprudential principle behind punishments. According to
Tyler, humanity fears the development of AI. This fear is what will inevitably
lead humanity into creating an AGI system that is amoral and unable to develop a
sense of emotion.
This combination is akin to what we see transpiring in nature,
where predators hunt prey out of a programmed need to hunt. We cannot say that
similar technologic advancements have not come about due to our fear that
another power will attain that given technology first. He further says that the
struggle to generate rights for NBI systems is that of perceived need for legal
protections which leads to complications surrounding the necessity of
There are further questions to ask, including how NBIs can gain citizenship in
nations without a monarchist system of government or being based within a human
subject. As our current NBI systems become more sophisticated however, there is
a growing anxiety that damages caused by independently functioning NBIs cannot
be directly connected to a human entity-a party that has the means to provide
remuneration for damages caused either by their actions or the actions of their
Simon Chesterman's opposes it by mentioning the European Parliament resolution
which warned that legal personality for AI would be inappropriate from 'an
ethical and a legal perspective'. Further he states that the only basis for
denying personality may ultimately be a form of speciesism- privileging human
welfare over robot welfare because we the lawmakers are human.
Also maybe in future such systems might surpass humanity and humans' legal
status may get endangered. Such devises will outfox the humanity and might take
over the mankind like slaves. Simon highlights that AI-systems are not
innovative as they are enslaved by algorithms. In future, they cannot seek
creative solutions. He also says that humans are self-sustainable as they
reproduce but AI systems are created by humans which makes them solely dependent
These arguments highlight that such systems are emotionless which doesn't allow
them to feel guilt. Thus it is useless to punish them. Also if they become super
intelligent in future, they may be a threat to legal human status.
After going through all the arguments given in the articles, I personally feel
that AI should be granted the status of legal personhood. It should be done
because the AI system should get appreciation for the work that is carried out
by it for which the rewards and recognition is given to the company or an
Giving legal status does not mean that one have a green card to produce and
introduce new AI and adding programs that would help them to protect themselves
and even help them to learn new things as if this happens they will be the
reason behind enslavement or extinction of human civilization.
Untill and unless the use of AI is limited to domestic and official work that
creates no danger to human life(for example there use in order to counter the
enemies) and they are only used to reduce human efforts, AI could be granted
with legal personhood.
Though their might be some difficulties in providing for a legal system in order
to protect the legal or the basic rights of the AI system, but one can not
ignore the fact that it is not impossible. As I have already discussed above
about the legal status of slaves and women, there is a possibility of framing
laws in order to provide the AI system with basic legal as well as civil rights.
At last I would like to say that though the definition of technology will always
remain same but technology will continue to change. New technology will be
introduced every month.
This development is of no use until one not only enjoys these technology but
also respect it and in order to give it the respect that it deserve, legal
personal hood should be granted and a legal status should be provided.
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