Čerka, Grigienė and Sirbikytė, ‘Is it possible to grant legal personality to artificial intelligence software systems?’

Abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to determine whether Systems of Artificial Intelligence (SAI) can be deemed subjects of law. This aim is formulated according to the technical capabilities integrated in SAI and the SAI’s ability to interact independently with other legal subjects. SAI features, such as direct connection with intellectual skills, the ability to understand, learn and make autonomous decisions may cause situations where autonomous systems based on AI will make decisions which will be in the best interests of individuals, even though conflicting with the user’s own will.

To consider the possibility of SAI being recognized as possessing legal personality, we analyse the concept and features of SAI and define its operating principles. We give hypothetical examples to demonstrate the necessity of SAIs being recognized as such. The paper undertakes legal personality analysis of SAI performed: (i) using the philosophical and legal concepts of a subject (person); (ii) discussing artificial (unnatural subjects of law) as an alternative to the recognition of legal personality of SAI; (iii) using elements of legal personality set for natural and legal persons.

The analysis leads to the conclusion that the scope of SAI rights and obligations will not necessarily be the same as the scope of rights and obligations of other subjects of law. Thus, SAI could only have rights and obligations that are strictly defined by legislators. This conclusion suggests that the result of this paper may be its use in further research defining the scope of SAI rights and obligations.

Paulius Čerka, Jurgita Grigienė and Gintarė Sirbikytė, ‘Is it possible to grant legal personality to artificial intelligence software systems?’, Computer Law and Security Review, volume 33, issue 5, October 2017, pages 685-699.

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