Robots in the Castle

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1 Response

  1. Samir Chopra says:

    Ian: As always, you are very eloquent. Here, I fear, your eloquence has so beguiled you, that while you’ve put together a post bursting to the seams, straining to the limits, with sustained disappointment at promises-not-fulfilled, you didn’t hand out a substantive point or two of complaint that I could respond to. What’s missing in the book? What does it get wrong? What sorts of varied and diverse capacities do AAs exhibit that require a richer, more complex legal apparatus than the one we make some tentative approaches toward in this book? Where does the law of agency break down in contracting? Why does the knowledge attribution analysis and its application to privacy or corporate scienter scenarios as offered in Chapter 3 not work? Why is taking intentional stance not a viable strategy? Would it never work? Why? Are the analogies offered in Chapter 4 for developing a liability scheme for a variety of agents all off the mark? (In that chapter, we split artificial agents into various categories depending on our understanding of them as mere instrumentalities or as potential agents.) Do you think the distinction we make between legal responsibility and moral responsbility in Chapter4 fail? What would go wrong with even thinking about legal personhood as a possibility for AAs (as we do in Chapter 5)? Give me a handle on some of the “all sorts of important potential issues and outcomes” that worry you.

    On a related note: I am glad you have given me an occasion to address what I can best term “fiction-phobia”, a disease that afflicted that venerable jurist, Lon Fuller. Fuller, like too many legal theorists, dabbled in a distinction between fiction and not-fiction, metaphor and not-metaphor, that he took to be far more solid than it ever was, ever will be, or hopefully, we will ever try and make. The world around us is packed to the gills with fictions and solidified metaphor; our language survives on taking yesterday’s metaphor and turning it into today’s reified object. Look a little closer, all that’s solid melts into thin air.

    I hear the angst the book has caused you; tell me what I can do to try and address it. Maybe we’ll have even more to talk about then when we meet in Miami.