Gadis Gadzhiev, Elena Voynikanis

Could Robot be a Legal Subject? (In Search of Legal Forms for Digital Economy Regulation)

2018. No. 4. P. 24–48 [issue contents]
In the digital age the development of robotics using artificial intelligence has reached anew scale and raises both socio-economic and legal problems. Of particular relevancein this context is the problem of the legal personality of robots, which are able to performindependent actions and to adapt to the environment. The resolution of the EuropeanParliament on Civil Law Rules on Robotics (2017) shows that the problem has not onlyscientific, but also practical or applied significance. In legal science, the interpretationof the concept of a person differs depending on legal understanding. According to a“narrowly realistic” understanding of the law a robot cannot be recognized as a legalsubject. On the contrary, according to the approach to the legal world as a special andself-sufficient reality, the question of the legal personality of the robot is pragmatic. Thearticle analyzes the history of the formation of the legal concept of a person and its rolein the legal concept of the world. For Roman jurists, the concept of a person (persona)meant, in the first place, a “mask”, i.e. this or that social function of a person. For themthe meaning of the legal concept of a person was never identical to the meaning of theconcept of the human personality. On the contrary, for European law, which was stronglyinfluenced by philosophical ideas, the problem of confusing the concepts of the personand the human personality is quite characteristic. The authors of the article come to theconclusion that uncritical perception of non-legal ideas and theories can become anobstacle to the development of law. The law can play an active role in the developmentof the economy and society as a whole only by preserving its identity. Thus, the questionof the legal personality of robots should be decided on the basis of a comprehensiveanalysis of the possible (economic and social) costs and benefits. Recognition of a robotas a legal entity is connected, first of all, with the need for more efficient allocation ofresponsibility. At the same time, the distribution of responsibilities is aimed at solving not only the economic, but also the legal problem, that of balancing the interests andadapting the law to social reality. The flexibility and elasticity of civil-law concepts leads tothe conclusion that the choice of a specific model of legal personality and distribution ofresponsibilities will depend on current needs and practices.
Citation: Gadzhiev G., Voynikanis E. (2018) Mozhet li robot byt' sub"ektom prava? (poisk pravovykh form dlya regulirovaniya tsifrovoy ekonomiki) [Could Robot be a Legal Subject? (In Search of Legal Forms for Digital Economy Regulation)]. Pravo. Zhurnal Vysshey shkoly ekonomiki, no 4, pp. 24-48 (in Russian)
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