We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Artificial general intelligence and contract.

John, Linarelli (2019) 'Artificial general intelligence and contract.', Uniform law review., 24 (2). pp. 330-347.


The aim of this article is to inquire whether contract law can operate in a state of affairs in which artificial general intelligence (AGI) exists and has the cog-nitive abilities to interact with humans to exchange promises or otherwise en-gage in the sorts of exchanges typically governed by contract law. AGI is a long way off but its emergence may be sudden and come in the lifetimes of some people alive today. How might contract law adapt to a situation in which at least one of the contract parties could, from the standpoint of capacity to engage in promising and exchange, be an AGI? This is not a situation in which AI operates as an agent of a human or a firm, a frequent occurrence right now. Rather, the question is whether an AGI could constitute a principal – a contract party on its own. Contract law is a good place to start a discussion about adapt-ing the law for an AGI future because it already incorporates a version of what is known as weak AI in its objective standard for contract formation and inter-pretation. Contract law in some limited sense takes on issues of relevance from philosophy of mind. AGI holds the potential to transform a solution to an epis-temological problem of how to prove a contract exists into solution to an onto-logical problem about the capacity to contract. An objection might be that con-tract law presupposes the existence of a person the law recognizes as pos-sessing the capacity to contract. Contract law itself may not be able to answer the prior question of legally recognized personhood. The answer will be to fo-cus on how AGI cognitive architecture could be designed for compatibility for human interaction. This article focuses on that question as well.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 09 June 2021.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
First Live Deposit - 04 April 2019
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Uniform Law Review following peer review. The version of record Linarelli John (2019). Artificial general intelligence and contract. Uniform Law Review 24(2): 330-347 is available online at:
Record Created:04 Apr 2019 12:13
Last Modified:19 Aug 2019 15:48

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitterExport: EndNote, Zotero | BibTex
Look up in GoogleScholar | Find in a UK Library