Space, Ice, and Artificial Intelligence: the Cosmolegal
Proceedings of the Inaugural Edinburgh-Glasgow International Law Workshop – April 8-10, 2019 Old College, the University of Edinburgh
Posted: 15 May 2023 Last revised: 16 May 2023
Date Written: April 1, 2018
This article analyses together the cases of the Arctic and the outer space because they are both subject to the current state-extractive industry promotion of a ‘rush’ for resources in newly accessible spaces. In addition, state capacity to control an area with technology, has played a vital role in the conquest of final frontiers. Robotic and autonomous technologies have the similar potential in the outer space and deep-sea contexts. These issues are challenging our existing notions of territoriality, ownership, and borders, as well as the claims to international legal universality. The international legal response to potential new resources in the Arctic and the outer space has been mostly connected to the interests of ‘ownership’, exploitation, and utilisation, as well as the extensions of territorial sovereignty.
This topic requires an interdisciplinary approach, which will address not only the public-private regulatory aspects, but also the disciplinary limits of law in addressing the Arctic and outer space. In so doing, it forwards an interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approach to legal thinking,aiming to push the discipline beyond the confines of its current learning and practice. It proposes an interdisciplinary principle to encompass the process through which the law would recognize and include the agency of the non-human: the cosmolegal.
Following Steffen et. al. (2018), the paper proposes the recognition and a recasting of humanity as being an inseparable part of the Earth System. Human activities anywhere on Earth may affect the Earth’s system and the resulting changes in that system may affect humans everywhere on Earth. Underlying global change is human-driven alterations of i.) the biological fabric of the Earth; ii) the stocks and flows of major elements in the planetary machinery such as nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, and silicon; and iii) the energy balance at the Earth’s surface.
Keywords: Earth System Science, International Law, Cosmolegal, Outer Space Law, Arctic Law, Climate Law, Autonomous Machine Learning
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