Taking AI Governance Seriously

European Commission report sets out legal framework for AIs and DAOs

Greg McMullen
Aug 25, 2016 · 6 min read
Image: AlejandroLinaresGarcia — Toy robots on display at the Museo del Objeto del Objeto in Mexico City, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Robots are people too

Personhood is key to the ability to engage with law. It grants the ability to enter into contracts and own property. Persons have certain rights in international and domestic law. Persons also have responsibilities under the law, and can be held liable for a breach of those duties.

1) AIs and liability

Persons can be held liable for their own action or inaction in certain circumstances.

2001: A Space Odyssey. Source: GIPHY.

2) Artificial intelligence meets intellectual property

The infamous “Monkey Selfie” legal battle captured headlines again earlier this year, when a U.S. Federal Court judge ruled that the monkey in question could not have copyright in his self-portrait since he was not a “person” as required by the law, even though he was the creator of the image. Courts had previously held that the photographer whose camera the monkey used could not own the photo, since it was the monkey’s creation.

Image: Public domain.

Conclusions

While it’s easy to laugh about regulating “electronic persons” today, the Report is asking the hard questions we will need to ask in the next ten years. AIs are too powerful to live entirely outside of the law. It’s time to consider how AI governance will work. The Report is a good first step.

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Greg McMullen

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I’m a lawyer. I like the internet.

IPDB Blog

IPDB Blog

An internet-scale blockchain database for the planet.