If it sounds non-sense to consider a robot as a legal personhood, then you may not have known Sophia. In a state like Saudi Arabia in which women have only just been given the right to drive and where many women have to ask permission from male relatives or partners to leave the house, get a passport and get married Sophia becomes the new digital feminist. Sophia is a social humanoid invented in Hong Kong and designed by Hanson Robotics. She is the first robot citizen and the first robot ambassador for the United Nations development program. In 2017, social robot Sophia was given citizenship of Saudi Arabia and became the first robot to be given legal personhood anywhere in the world. She also has a career in marketing, until now she is living the ‘’good life’’ that some human creatures are seeking. But should robots or other artificial intelligence forms have equal rights with humans? Can Artificial Intelligence creations be considered as Intellectual Property?
Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) is an area of computer science that focuses on the creation of intelligent machines that work and think like humans. They are highly able to complete different tasks such as: speech recognition, learning, planning and problem solving. But certain tasks are more difficult to be fully achieved by science such as: knowledge, reasoning, perception, learning, planning and the ability to manipulate and move objects. Examples of nowadays level of Artificial Intelligence are: “Tesla” the car that drives itself without the need of a driver, “Sophia” the social humanoid invented in Hong Kong. “Netflix” – the most popular platform for movies, “Siri” – Apple’s personal assistant etc., AI has laid and plans to lay its tentacles not only on technology but also on different fields like: education, finance, law, art, healthcare, transport and politics.
Because of the rapid development of AI, the diversity of activities that robots can do, even more efficiently than people, is increasing from day to day in giant steps. Nowadays Artificial Intelligence has approached more than ever to Human Intelligence and this may result to a new revolution that can benefit or threat humankind, in a way that cannot be reversed. Technology has reached some of her goals, that others would have seen only on those cartoons or fiction movies where robots threatens to end the human race and to rule the whole planet and much more. Some say that we are going to be to robots like dogs are to us humans. It may look funny or far away but both are incorrect because the future is moving with supersonic speed, now more than ever everyone should be informed about AI. If before it was really impressive a robot that can cook and clean what would you think about the new artists though?
Until now in the world that we are living we have robots that can write poetry in their own original way, that can make a speech for a specific topic, that can make impressive paintings, robots that can take care of children and even as defenders of your rights. But the main question rise, if a robot can create a poetry or if it can make a unique painting like Vincent van But who will take the Intellectual Property Rights?
Intellectual Property Rights are legal rights that aim to protect the creations of intellect which include patent, copyright, trademarks and trade secrets. To have a better understanding of how Intellectual property relates with Artificial Intelligence we should take in consideration the approach of law for IP rights in different states and the most common form of IP(copyright) applied in machine learning system.
Intellectual Property Rights for machines isn’t something unknown for legislation. United Kingdom in 1988 became the first country that provided copyright protection for Artificial Intelligence or computer-generated works. But listing AI as an inventor has become a twisted case for Law all around the world. For United Kingdom listing AI or other non-humans as an inventor isn’t for giving rights to machines or animals but the main reason is to protect the moral rights of traditional human inventors and the integrity of the patent system. United States since 1973 have taken a different approach due to Human authorship policy that prohibits copyright protection of works that are not generated by a human author. That familiar ‘’Prove that you are not a robot’’ sentence has made its viewpoints clear. According to United States AI and other forms of non human such as animals cannot be an inventor. Copyright law in the U.S. is governed by federal statute, namely the Copyright Act of 1976. The Copyright Act prevents the unauthorized copying of a work of authorship. However, only the copying of the work is prohibited–anyone may copy the ideas contained within a work. For example, a copyright could cover a written description of a machine, but the actual machine itself is not covered.
According to United States AI cannot be an inventor. The most popular case related to copyright is “Naruto case”. Naruto was an Indonesian monkey that made some selfies with the camera of the British photographer David Slaper in 2011.But should Naruto have its own rights for the selfies he made?
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued Slater and self-publishing company Blurb on Naruto’s behalf in 2015. The group argued that publishing and selling the photographs that the monkey took infringed on Naruto’s rights under the Copyright Act.
According to US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Naruto has no rights because animals cannot own copyrights. “Our court’s precedent requires us to conclude that the monkey’s claim has standing under Article III of the United States Constitution. Nonetheless, we conclude that this monkey — and all animals, since they are not human — lacks statutory standing under the Copyright Act.1 We therefore affirm the judgment of the district court,” panel Judge Carlos Bea said.The 9th Circuit ruling comes after PETA and Slater last year reached a settlement in the dispute.PETA, photographer reach settlement in ‘monkey selfie’ caseUnder the agreement, Slater agreed to donate 25% of any future revenue derived from using or selling the monkey selfie to charities that protect the crested macaques’ habitat in Indonesia, according to a joint statement published on PETA’s website. “PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for nonhuman animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal,” the two parties said. Giving rights to machines or animals just for showing the integrity of law may cause more than just headaches for lawyers. If IP wouldn’t coordinate with the effects of AI in social, economic, political and law life than the results would be drastic. By 2030 reports estimate that robots will take 800 million jobs from humans. The number is concerning but as every other evolution, society must adapt to survive. But if robots will take every profession such as teacher, lawyers, politician, doctors, therapist, artist etc., what profession would be available for humans? Are we going to be all programmers or Engineers or even those jobs will be taken from AI machines? Treating machines like human by law can also influence the way society thinks. At first it may seem irrational, but if people are so drowned psychologically and physically to the virtual world of social media than a higher form of technology may be the new addiction. If AI forms are more efficient than people and original in proportion with the outside environment than who needs people? And if people are not needed who needs law?
Masayoshi Son the executive chef of Softbank says: “I believe this artificial intelligence Is going to be our partner. If we misuse it, it will be a risk. If we use it right, it can be our partner” and that is the perfect relative answer to all the questions that are triggered by AI.