TMT and Intellectual Property

Can Artificial Intelligence Have Legal Personality?

Ground Breaking Draft Report of the European Commission on This Topic 

With the development of technology, the concept of artificial intelligence has become an important part of our lives. The interaction between humans and machines is getting more and more complex. Artificial intelligence can imitate many human-specific skills such as problem solving and analytical thinking, and even perform it better than humans. This development causes a huge legal gap. Law is a system that we encounter in all areas of our lives and that directly concerns human life and behavior. For this reason, it should closely follow the changes and developments experienced under the influence of technology and should not lag behind. Whether the artificial intelligence entity is legally defined as a person and whether some rights and obligations are given to them will determine the place of artificial intelligence in society. Existing arguments have been gathered that they can be considered as legal entities, electronic entities and non-human persons in general, or that no personality traits can be attributed. The legal order has also given personality to some non-human beings, so it is legally possible to give a personality to humanoid artificial intelligences. In this process, one artificial intelligence robot was granted citizenship in the United Arab Emirates and another artificial intelligence was granted a residence permit in Japan. Of course, it is a matter of debate whether these legal acts can be considered valid.

European Parliament Robotics Recommendation Report

The European Parliament published the Robotic Recommendation Report of the European Parliament Legal Affairs Commission on February 16, 2017. The purpose of publishing the report is to create a legal basis for solving the problems that artificial intelligence may create in the future. The report has been prepared in the light of European Union Legislation and European Commission recommendations. Perhaps the most striking of all views is the idea of ​​giving artificial intelligence a kind of “electronic personality” in this report. Electronic personality status does not exist in the current legal order. This revolutionary theory is a recommendation that although they do not currently have a human status, they can be considered as a unique electronic personality status. If this recommendation is implemented, a new era will begin in terms of personal law. In this way, it will be possible for artificial intelligence robots to be a deptor and even become taxpayers. The report also includes the criteria required for a reliable artificial intelligence to be in question. These are the principles of compliance with the law, compliance with ethical principles and reliability.

Rather than trying to adapt a completely new formation into the existing order, the idea of ​​creating a unique status is quite pertinent. With this draft of the European Parliament, robots can be held responsible for any damage they may cause in cases where they make their own decisions autonomously. The “autonomy” of artificial intelligence is defined as making decisions independently of external factors. With the unceasing development of technology, the days when artificial intelligence will become an inseparable part of our lives no longer seem like a dream. This new technology is going beyond human capabilities and is evolving into features that will cause them to be preferred in many sectors.

Considering that artificial intelligence robots will turn into a much more advanced structure than their current state, it is clear that a legal basis should be established and some precautions should be taken as soon as possible whether to recognize them as a legal personality.


Selin Ünverdi

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