On Artificial Intelligence’s Razor’s Edge: On the Future of Democracy and Society in the Artificial Age

40 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2018 Last revised: 21 Mar 2019

See all articles by Julia M. Puaschunder

Julia M. Puaschunder

Harvard University; The New School for Social Research; Columbia University; Princeton University; George Washington University Center for International Business Education and Research; The New School - Bernard Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (CEPA)

Date Written: December 7, 2018

Abstract

The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our contemporary society imposes historically unique challenges for humankind. The emerging autonomy of AI holds unique potentials of eternal life of robots, AI and algorithms alongside unprecedented economic superiority, data storage and computational advantages. However, the introduction of AI to society also raises ethical questions. What is the social impact of robots, algorithms, blockchain and AI entering the workforce and our daily lives on the economy and human society? Should AI become eternal or is there a virtue in switching off AI at a certain point? If so, we may have to define a ‘virtue of killing’ and a ‘right to destroy’ that may draw from legal but also philosophical sources to answer the question how to handle the abyss of killing with ethical grace and fair style. In light of robots already having gained citizenship and being attributed as quasi-human under Common Law jurisdiction, should AI and robots be granted full citizen rights – such as voting rights? Or should we simply reap the benefits of AI and consider to define a democracy with different classes having diversified access to public choice and voting – as practiced in the ancient Athenian city state, which became the cradle of Western civilization and democratic traditions spread around the globe. Or should we legally justify AI slaves to economically reap their benefits, as was common in ancient Rome, which became the Roman Law legal foundation for Continental and some of Scandinavian Law traditions and which inspired very many different codifications around the world. Finally, we may also draw from the Code Napoléon, the French Code Civil established under Napoleon in 1804, which defined male and female into two classes of human with substantial right and power differences, and – to this day – accounts for one of the few documents that have influenced the whole world in legal and societal ways. In asking critical questions and unraveling the ethical boundary conditions of our future artificial world, the paper thereby takes a descriptive – afar from normative – theoretical angle targeted at aiding a successful introduction of AI into our contemporary workforce, democracy and society.

Keywords: AI, Artificial Intelligence, Athenian City State, Code Civil, Code Napoléon, Democracy, Right to Destroy, Roman Law, Slavery, Society, Workforce

Suggested Citation

Puaschunder, Julia M., On Artificial Intelligence’s Razor’s Edge: On the Future of Democracy and Society in the Artificial Age (December 7, 2018). Journal of Economics and Business, 2, 1, 100-119.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3297348 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3297348

Julia M. Puaschunder (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

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The New School for Social Research ( email )

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Columbia University ( email )

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Princeton University ( email )

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The New School - Bernard Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (CEPA) ( email )

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