Law, Human Agency and Autonomic Computing
The Philosophy of Law Meets the Philosophy of Technology
Edited by Mireille Hildebrandt, Antoinette Rouvroy
Routledge – 2011 – 248 pages
Law, Human Agency and Autonomic Computing interrogates the legal implications of the notion and experience of human agency implied by the emerging paradigm of autonomic computing, and the socio-technical infrastructures it supports. The development of autonomic computing and ambient intelligence – self-governing systems – challenge traditional philosophical conceptions of human self-constitution and agency, with significant consequences for the theory and practice of constitutional self-government. Ideas of identity, subjectivity, agency, personhood, intentionality, and embodiment are all central to the functioning of modern legal systems. But once artificial entities become more autonomic, and less dependent on deliberate human intervention, criteria like agency, intentionality and self-determination, become too fragile to serve as defining criteria for human subjectivity, personality or identity, and for characterizing the processes through which individual citizens become moral and legal subjects. Are autonomic – yet artificial – systems shrinking the distance between (acting) subjects and (acted upon) objects? How ‘distinctively human’ will agency be in a world of autonomic computing? Or, alternatively, does autonomic computing merely disclose that we were never, in this sense, ‘human’ anyway? A dialogue between philosophers of technology and philosophers of law, this book addresses these questions, as it takes up the unprecedented opportunity that autonomic computing and ambient intelligence offer for a reassessment of the most basic concepts of law.
Introduction: A Multifocal View of Human Agency in the Era of Autonomic Computing, Mireille Hildebrandt; 1 Smart? Amsterdam Urinals and Autonomic Computing, Don Ihde; 2 Subject to technology: on autonomic computing and human autonomy, Peter-Paul Verbeek; 3 Remote control: human autonomy in the age of computer-mediated agency, Jos de Mul & Bibi van den Berg; 4 Autonomy, delegation and responsibility: agents in autonomic computing environments, Roger Brownsword; 5 Rethinking human identity in the age of autonomic computing: the philosophical idea of the trace, Massimo Durante; 6 Autonomic computing, genomic data and human agency: the case for embodiment, Hyo Yoon Kang; 7 Technology, virtuality and utopia: governmentality in an age of autonomic computing Antoinette Rouvroy; 8 Autonomic and autonomous ‘thinking’: preconditions for criminal accountability, Mireille Hildebrandt; 9 Technology and accountability: autonomic computing and human agency, Jannis Kallinikos; 10 Of machines and men: the road to identity. Scenes for a discussion, Stefano Rodotà; 11 ‘The BPI Nexus’: a philosophical echo to Stefano Rodotà’s ‘Of Machines and Men’, Paul Mathias; Epilogue: technological mediation, and human agency as recalcitrance, Antoinette Rouvroy
Mireille Hildebrandt is a senior researcher at the Centre for Law, Science,Technology and Society Studies (LSTS) at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She is Associate Professor of Jurisprudence at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Full Professor of Smart Environments, Data Proection and the Rule of Law at the Institute of Computer and Information Sciences (ICIS) at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Nertherlands.
Antoinette Rouvroy is research associate of the National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS) and senior researcher at the Information Technology and Law Research Centre (CRID) of the University of Namur, Belgium.