“Once bots gained human rights, a wave of legislation swept through many governments and economic coalitions that later became known as the Human Rights Indenture Laws. They established the rights of indentured robots, and, after a decade of court battles, established the rights of humans to become indentured, too. After all, if human-equivalent beings could be indentured, why not humans themselves?” – Annalee Newitz, Autonomous
|Figure 1. At the Symposium. Credits: Daivi Rodima-Taylor|
We recognize the grim logic governing unfree labor in Annalee Newitz’s 2017 novel about future forms of property. Contemporary forms of human slavery and indenture occupy the same world as new intelligent computational systems and human-computational assemblages that are shifting the nature of work and contract—see, for instance, ride hailing, which is only a prelude to broader changes in augmented labor relations. This conjuncture brings to the fore urgent questions of autonomy, infrastructure, and ethics.
The symposium “The Human Face of Artificial Intelligence: Infrastructures, Narratives, Ethics” that took place at the University of California, Irvine on October 17, 2019, brought together an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars to discuss new challenges and opportunities around the systems of AI. Broadly defined as intelligent automated systems that can analyze their environment, make decisions and adapt their behavior by learning from experience, systems of AI steadily permeate social and political spaces, fomenting novel conversations about law, ethics, governance, sociality, and humanity.
If a complex AI system malfunctions and causes harm to humans, who or what should be found liable and according to which criteria? Should AI be viewed as a mere technological tool, or an autonomous agent with a free will? How does artificial intelligence reshape our conversations about legal personhood and human spirituality within this increasingly complex intersection of humanity and technology? Exploring the conceptualizations of a legal person in the history of Anglo-American jurisprudence, Summer Kim of UCI Law School discussed the challenges around prescribing new rights and obligations to artificially intelligent autonomous agents. Reflecting on lessons from arguments that corporations have used to enjoy some of the rights that natural persons have, she examined the ways how corporate law could guide the responsible use of technology in society.
Read the full post on Backchannels, Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) here: https://www.4sonline.org/blog/post/in_search_of_the_human_face_of_artificial_intelligence