A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents

February 8th, 2012

This book looks very, very cool. ConOps is hosting a symposium on the book with some big names. I just downloaded a copy of the eBook (which tragically is only available as a DRMd PDF, and not a Kindle). A sample is available here.

The increasing use of artificial agents such as bots, automated trading systems, and the like, in e-commerce and financial markets, has sparked a lively doctrinal debate in the legal academy and amongst international legislative bodies about the legal standing of the contracts that such agents might enter into during the course of their activities. In this article, we examine some putative solutions to the “contracting problem” and argue that its most satisfying resolution – along the legal and economic dimensions – lies in granting artificial agents a limited form of legal agency. Such a move is not only prompted by the ever-increasing autonomy and technical sophistication of today’s artificial agents but also by the better liability protection it enables for the human and corporate principals of artificial agents.