Constructive Intelligence, Human Rights and the Social Responsibility Continuum: Criminal Law Jurisprudence in a Brave New World

32 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2008

Date Written: October 29, 2008


How should the law respond in light of emergent technologies and life forms? More particularly, should the legislative process be proactive and if so, on whose behalf and what should be the test? Are there sufficient provisions in our legal systems to address the inevitable developments of future animate and inanimate intelligences?

Human rights are inalienable. Intelligence, as a social matter, is innate and subjective and can only be identified by its actions and results. Duties, by and large, must accompany the rights claimed and exercised by all intelligent beings in any cultural or legal system. Rights, by definition, must be enjoyed by those who are able to or have the potential not only to assert them but also to bear the social and moral burdens that accompany those rights. The third element in the social responsibility continuum (cognitive dependency) is however, quite a different story. It is introduced in this study as being analogous to the concept of 'intention' in criminal law and assumes volition as an extension of our social inheritance. Thus, this paper argues, social participation and human rights depend on identification with a cultural perspective and willingness to or otherwise be a part of it. The study argues that the successful enforcement of our criminal laws rely largely on our perception and participation in the social responsibility continuum. Thus, the presence of emotional detachment undermines the law.

In light of emergent technologies and better understanding of the animal kingdom, the question of constructive intelligence with regards to bio-technology and the animal kingdom poses challenges for our socio-political and legal systems. These, in turn, compel us to confront our narrow intellectual perspectives and reservations and address urgent questions about the concept of intelligence, the definition of humanity and thus, the frontiers of human rights. This study examines the relationship between self-awareness in the areas of AI and the animal kingdom and explores the pressures on the frontiers of human rights. Given the reality of intelligent computer systems, nanotechnology and the perplexing yet undeniable relationship between humans and the great apes, this study will explore whether criminal jurisprudence should develop proactively in order to safeguard the nature of law as an embodiment of an ordered society. In this pursuit, the paper will also explore the interplay between arrogated intelligence and rights. It will conclude by highlighting some of the challenges that could confront our brave new world and by presenting the new concept of the Social Responsibility Continuum.

Suggested Citation

Erastus-Obilo, Bethel G. A., Constructive Intelligence, Human Rights and the Social Responsibility Continuum: Criminal Law Jurisprudence in a Brave New World (October 29, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Bethel G. A. Erastus-Obilo (Contact Author)

University of Atlanta ( email )

223 James P. Brawley
Atlanta, GA
United States

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