Contracting agents: Legal personality and representation [Book Review]

Artificial Intelligence and Law 15 (4):357-373 (2007)
Abstract
The combined use of computers and telecommunications and the latest evolution in the field of Artificial Intelligence brought along new ways of contracting and of expressing will and declarations. The question is, how far we can go in considering computer intelligence and autonomy, how can we legally deal with a new form of electronic behaviour capable of autonomous action? In the field of contracting, through Intelligent Electronic Agents, there is an imperious need of analysing the question of expression of consent, and two main possibilities have been proposed: considering electronic devices as mere machines or tools, or considering electronic devices as legal persons. Another possibility that has been frequently mentioned consists in the application of the rules of agency to electronic transactions. Meanwhile, the question remains: would it possible, under a Civil Law framework, to apply the notions of “legal personhood” and “representation” to electronic agents? It is obvious that existing legal norms are not fit for such an endeavouring challenge. Yet, the virtual world exists and it requires a new but realistic legal approach on software agents, in order to enhance the use of electronic commerce in a global world
Keywords Agent  Contracting  Personality  Representation
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