Gunkel on Should Robots Have Standing

David J. Gunkel (Northern Illinois University) has posted “Should Robots Have Standing? From Robot Rights to Robot Rites” (Frontiers of Artificial Intelligence and Applications, IOS Press forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

“Robot” designates something that does not quite fit the standard way of organizing beings into the mutually exclusive categories of “person” or “thing.” The figure of the robot interrupts this fundamental organizing schema, resisting efforts at both reification and personification. Consequently, what is seen reflected in the face or faceplate of the robot is the fact that the existing moral and legal ontology—the way that we make sense of and organize our world—is already broken or at least straining against its own limitations. What is needed in response to this problem is a significantly reformulated moral and legal ontology that can scale to the unique challenges of the 21st century and beyond.

Ranchordas on Smart Cities, Artificial Intelligence and Public Law

Sofia Ranchordas (U Groningen Law; LUISS) has posted “Smart Cities, Artificial Intelligence and Public Law: An Unchained Melody” on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Governments and citizens are by definition in an unequal relationship. Public law has sought to address this power asymmetry with different legal principles and instruments. However, in the context of smart cities, the inequality between public authorities and citizens is growing, particularly for vulnerable citizens. This paper explains this phenomenon in light of the dissonance between the rationale, principles and instruments of public law and the practical implementation of AI in smart cities. It argues first that public law overlooks that smart cities are complex phenomena that pose novel and different legal problems. Smart cities are strategies, products, narratives, and processes that reshape the relationship between governments and citizens, often excluding citizens who are not deemed as ‘smart’. Second, smart urban solutions tend to be primarily predictive as they seek to anticipate, for example, crime, traffic congestion or pollution. On the contrary, public law principles and tools remain reactive or responsive, failing to regulate potential harms caused by predictive systems. In addition, public law remains focused on the need to constrain human discretion and individual flaws rather than systemic errors and datafication systems which place citizens in novel categories. This paper discusses the dissonance between public law and smart urban solutions, presenting the smart city as a corporate narrative which, with its attempts to optimise citizenship, inevitably excludes thousands of citizens.