Gervais on How Courts Can Define Humanness in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Daniel J. Gervais (Vanderbilt University – Law School) has posted “Human as a Matter of Law: How Courts Can Define Humanness in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This Essay considers the ability of AI machines to perform intellectual functions long associated with human higher mental faculties as a form of sapience, a notion that more fruitfully describes their abilities than either intelligence or sentience. Using a transdisciplinary methodology, including philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, linguistics and neuroscience, the essay aims to situates the difference in law between human and machine in a way that a court of law could operationalize. This is not a purely theoretical exercise. Courts have already started to make that distinction and making it correctly will likely become gradually more important, as humans become more like machines (cyborgs, cobots) and machines more like humans (neural networks, robots with biological material). The essay draws a line that separates human and machine using the way in which humans think, a way that machines may mimic and possibly emulate but are unlikely ever to make their own.