From Galatea 2.2 to Watson - And Back?

M Hildebrandt

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

4 Citations (Scopus)


When Ken Jennings, 74-times winner of the Jeopardy TV quiz, lost against a room-size IBM computer, he wrote on his video screen: ‘I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords’ (citing a popular ‘Simpsons’ phrase). The New York Times writes that ‘for IBM’ this was ‘proof that the company has taken a big step toward a world in which intelligent machines will understand and respond to humans, and perhaps inevitably, replace some of them’ (Markoff 2011). Richard Powers anticipated this event in his 1995 novel on Helen, ‘a box’ that ‘had learned how to read, powered by nothing more than a hidden, firing profusion. Neural cascade, trimmed by self-correction, (…)’ (at 31). Powers describes an experiment that involves a neural net being trained to take the Master’s Comprehensive Exam in English literature. The novel traces the relationship that develops between the main character and the computer he is teaching, all the while raising and rephrasing the questions that have haunted AI research. This chapter addresses the potential implications of engaging computing systems as smart competitors or smart companions, bringing up the question of what it would take to acknowledge their agency by giving them legal personhood.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Law and Computer Law
EditorsM. Hildebrandt, A.M.P. Gaakeer
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9789400763142
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Research programs

  • SAI 2005-04 MSS


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