Who’s Responsible for my Info Agent?

We’ve heard about software agents for years, programs that are designed or design themselves based on observing your digital behaviors to act on our behalf, conducting ongoing research, answering the phone for us, etc. See Apple’s Knowledge Navigator video, which Shaun McElroy reminded us of in U Tech Tips on April 1.

With the emergence of virtual worlds such as SecondLife, will will likely be seeing (if not already) virtual personages, who are not being driven by a human, but instead by intelligent software that is designed to accomplish some goal, either benign or malevolent. It’s going to happen (if not already)!

Picture of BookAnd so, here are some more future questions for your students.

  • Who’s responsible?
  • What are the legal ramifications of non-human virtual identities or agents that are not human driven?
  • In what ways might current law cross over into the virtual world?
  • Where do evil programs go to mend their ways?

Jacob van Kokswijk seeks to explore these and other questions related to non-human virtual identities in his new book, Digital Ego, available through University of Chicago Press. ((Visser, Gerrit. “Social and Legal Consequences of Virtual Identities.” [Weblog SmartMobs: The Next Social Revolution] 10 Apr 2008. 10 Apr 2008 http://www.smartmobs.com/2008/04/10/ social-and-legal-consequences-of-virtual-identities/.))

Non-human virtual identities have an increasing impact on our society. A virtual identity is not just an online identity of a person, but a new technical and social phenomenon. What if software agents, powered by artificial intelligence, start acting on your behalf in a digital marketplace? What are the legal consequences of decisions made by…
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags: , , ,

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.