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Katherine Forrest Discusses Ethical Obligations Surrounding AI in Essay in Fordham Law Review

April 1, 2024

Digital Technology Group Chair Katherine Forrest discusses the profound ethical questions that AI, with its rapidly increasing cognitive capabilities, will create in an essay in the Fordham Law Review. In “Of Another Mind: AI and the Attachment of Human Ethical Obligations,” published on April 1, Katherine examines questions likely to arise as AI advances in sentience and self-awareness, including considerations about whether society may owe AI a designation of legal personhood, with its acknowledgement of certain legal rights and protections.

The concept of AI having awareness of itself and its context is “certainly possible,” Katherine writes. But “I, for one, view a grant of personhood for AI to be a complicated question. Yes, we have granted it to corporations that serve humans and that cannot act but through humans; but not granting personhood to a self-aware and cognitive entity would seem to bring us down an ethically troublesome path. One of the questions that AI will require us to face is whether our concept of ethics will itself have to change, be redefined, and be reconceptualized.”

“The velocity of change is like nothing we have ever seen before. We are just at the beginning, of the beginning, of the beginning of the most significant cognitive revolution humankind has ever lived through,” she continues. “We will have decisions to make; we must hope that human wisdom is up to the task.”

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© 2024 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

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