AI, on the Law of Being | from Non-Embodiment, Mechanized Embodiment, and Transhuman Embodiment to Human, What is a Person? [Abstract]
3 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2020 Last revised: 1 Aug 2020
Date Written: 2020
Mary Shelley’s vision in "Frankenstein" brought forward perplexing questions: What does it mean to be alive? Is being only defined by its tie to the carnate born? Or can life be created from the dead? Can being spring from non-being? What is a person?
Two centuries on, these questions persist. The search now for their answers in law, in ethics, in science, in society is critically urgent. Humans are giving birth to artificial intelligence systems with untold capacities to aid us and other incarnate creatures and the sphere we inhabit. We bestow mechanized embodiments upon them as robots. We merge our own flesh with dead device, sensate, haptic, connected. Mere mortals, we have long sat at the deemed evolutionary peak. But have we now created our own apex predator, our own Modern Prometheus?
Much, our future, will depend upon how we come to see and reason in law about a person. We created fictions to bestow personhood upon corporate and other non-living forms. Doctrinally cohesive, or at least convenient, such fictions visit injustices upon us. Animals as sensate beings with rights, irrespective of our capacity to understand their views; our blue planet as a living organism that hosts us, for now; robots as citizens where women are largely possession; historic peoples once chattel, then persons, but not citizens, now citizens, but AI subjects with victimhood propagated by algorithmic injustices.
What must we understand to identify and value in law so as to recognize the core of personhood? How do we circumscribe boundary conditions when our AI progeny, like Shelly, are exponentially exceeding the progenitors’ comprehension? How does law reconstruct itself with a far future vision to create sustainable, protective, and effective doctrines and governance structures around an evolving notion of person? These are questions to answer. Perhaps the only questions.
Keywords: law, artificial intelligence, personhood, basic rights, transhumanism, philosophy
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