The Future of Machines: Property and Personhood

Ernest Lim and Phillip Morgan (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Private Law and Artificial Intelligence (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)

21 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2021 Last revised: 26 Oct 2021

See all articles by Kelvin F.K. Low

Kelvin F.K. Low

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law

Wai Yee Wan

City University of Hong Kong; City University of Hong Kong (CityU) - Centre for Chinese & Comparative Law

Ying-Chieh Wu

Seoul National University (SNU), School of Law

Date Written: July 22, 2021

Abstract

The use of tools was once believed to be a distinguishing feature of human intelligence which allowed us to deny personhood to animals, which like tools, were property rather than persons. As we get increasingly dependent on our increasingly sophisticated tools, the law will need to consider when (if ever) machines cease to be mere tools and become a part of our person. Could they even increase in sophistication to the point when they may be conferred legal personhood? Or will rapidly advancing machine intelligence first strip us of our personhood? Might the law of property prove to be a bulwark against such an outcome?

Keywords: artificial intelligence, property, personhood, cyborg, accession, data, corporations

JEL Classification: K11, K22, K36

Suggested Citation

Low, Kelvin F.K. and Wan, Wai Yee and Wu, Ying-Chieh, The Future of Machines: Property and Personhood (July 22, 2021). Ernest Lim and Phillip Morgan (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Private Law and Artificial Intelligence (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3895535

Kelvin F.K. Low (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Eu Tong Sen Building
Singapore, 259776
Singapore

Wai Yee Wan

City University of Hong Kong ( email )

83 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon
Hong Kong

City University of Hong Kong (CityU) - Centre for Chinese & Comparative Law ( email )

83 Tat Chee Avenue
Room P5300, 5th Floor, Academic 1
Kowloon Tong
Hong Kong

Ying-Chieh Wu

Seoul National University (SNU), School of Law ( email )

Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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