Extending Personhood to Artificial Intelligence Systems: An Evaluation

Monidipa Sengupta
Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, IIT Kharagpur, India.

Volume II – Issue II, 2020

The last decade has seen steady progress in the field of artificial intelligence but despite such progress, there is a scarcity of regulation regarding the same. Such scarcity arises out of the fact that artificial intelligence systems display the ability to communicate, mental knowledge, physical knowledge and creativity, all of which are hallmarks of intelligence without needing human intervention in decision-making. It is due to such display of intelligence that artificial intelligence systems have the capacity to be involved in situations where the question of legal liability arises.

Due to the display of previously mentioned autonomy and intelligence, it is unfair for such liability to be assigned to either the developer or user of the system, as the system is capable of making a plethora of decisions without any human intervention. The author would like to explore the possibility of extending the scope of legal personality to artificial intelligence systems in a bid to suggest a rudimentary regulatory mechanism for assignment of legal liability to artificial intelligence systems. A thorough examination of the jurisprudence of legal personhood shows us that the scope of legal personality can be extended to artificial intelligence systems as they display analogous characteristics to other artificial legal persons based on which these entities had been granted legal personhood in the first place. This is necessary for the assignment of legal liability arising out of decisions made independently by AI systems as no national or international law recognises them as the subject of law.


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