Chapter 16: Being an agent in a robot and artificial intelligence age: Potentiality or dystopia?
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Robots and artificial intelligence systems (RAIs) play such a significant role in our lives that they are no longer primarily understood as utopian objects operating in an alternative reality. Although RAI technology offers undoubted advantages, rapid – and sometimes unforeseen – advances in this field have made it necessary to take a critical perspective in legal debates. This chapter compares the actions of RAIs with those of human beings, while bearing in mind the specific nature of the relationship between being an entity and being an agent. Accordingly, we assert that moral agency in human beings, or the ethical capacity to act alongside other potentialities, should be adopted as a determinant for the feasibility of any value-based social model of utopia in the new technology field. We argue that this capacity is a convenient tool in utopian thought that can be used, as Ruth Levitas contends, to create a new social model.