15 Canberra L. Rev. 1 (2017)

handle is hein.journals/canbera15 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Arnold & Gough, 'Turing's People'


   TURING'S PEOPLE: PERSONHOOD, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND

                              POPULAR CULTURE


               BRUCE BAER ARNOLD AND DREW GOUGH'


                                   ABSTRACT

What  is legal personhood? Many  people  understand personhood  - and  by extension
law - through depictions in popular culture. The contemporaryfeaturefilmfor example
provides  a lens through  which  non-specialists (people without  a background   in
information technology, philosophy and law) can make  sense of humanoid robots and
distributed artificial intelligence (AI), entities that perform as 'human'. Such an
understanding  is increasingly salient as AI becomes a pervasive but under-recognised
aspect of daily life, and continues to evolve in its sophistication and complexity,
provoking  questions about rights, responsibilities and regulation regarding artificial
entities that are independent rather than autonomous. The article accordingly analyses
depictions of personhood  in films such as Ex Machina, WarGames,   Alien and Alien
Covenant,  Forbidden Planet, RoboCop  and AI. It suggests that popular culture has an
uncertain grasp of legal personhood but provokes thought and tells us something useful
about  the difference between human animals, non-human   animals, corporations and
new  artificial persons. Those differences will be legally and culturally contested in the
emerging  age of smart machines and governance  by algorithm.


Legal personhood  is a strange creature, more omnipresent but less colourful than the
creatures featured on  screen in films such as Metropolis, 2 Prometheus  and Alien








I Dr Bruce Baer Arnold is an Assistant Professor at the School of Law & Justice at the University of
Canberra. His work has appeared in Melbourne University Law Review and other journals, along with
chapters on digital cities, privacy and secrecy. His current research focuses on regulatory incapacity at
the intersection of public health, consumer protection and technology. Mr Drew Gough is an Information
Technology consultant who has worked across federal, state and local government. His area of expertise
is IT security and high availability infrastructure and disaster recovery. He is the creator and primary
contributor to the technology and gaming blog ConstantlyRespawning.com. Work on law, code and
ethics in learning platforms is forthcoming.
2 Metropolis (Directed by Fritz Lang, Universum Film, 1927).


1


Canberra Law Review (2017) 15(l)

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