Cognitive automata and the law: Electronic contracting and the intentionality of software agents [Book Review]

Artificial Intelligence and Law 17 (4):253-290 (2009)
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Abstract

I shall argue that software agents can be attributed cognitive states, since their behaviour can be best understood by adopting the intentional stance. These cognitive states are legally relevant when agents are delegated by their users to engage, without users’ review, in choices based on their the agents’ own knowledge. Consequently, both with regard to torts and to contracts, legal rules designed for humans can also be applied to software agents, even though the latter do not have rights and duties of their own. The implications of this approach in different areas of the law are then discussed, in particular with regard to contracts, torts, and personality.

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