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.
"Chopra and White have produced an important and fascinating book on the emerging law of artificial agents. Their work combines a sophisticated understanding of technology with a deep insight about the law. The result is a magisterial survey that ranges over topics from tort liability for bots to the possibility that artificially intelligent agents might acquire legal personhood."
—Lawrence B. Solum, University of Illinois
"In this rigorous and enlightening analysis, Chopra and White . . . effortlessly move from profound examinations of the philosophy of artificial intelligence to practical legal responses to current problems. . . . Chopra and White are indispensable guides to the legal dilemmas of an increasingly automated world."
—Frank A. Pasquale, Seton Hall University and Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy
"An extraordinarily good synthesis from an amazing range of philosophical, legal, and technological sources."
—Kevin Ashley, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
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.