Assistant Professor of Law Summer Kim Discusses Corporate Personhood and Artificial Intelligence at Cryptoeconomic Systems Summit


Summer Kim

UCI Law Assistant Professor of Law Summer Kim spoke at the 2019 Cryptoeconomic Systems Field Building Summit at MIT. Her talk, titled “Boundaries of Personhood: Lessons from Corporate Personhood for the Intelligence Age,” focused on how the debate on corporate personhood can inform and shape our thinking about the role of artificial intelligence in law and society.

“These questions about the extent to which artificial entities should be viewed as persons under the eyes of the law is important to consider as society pushes the boundaries of what technology can do for us and in lieu of us.”

Kim’s discussion touched on three areas:

  1. Are corporations people – seminal cases and theories used to advance corporate personhood,
  2. Challenges in setting the boundaries of personhood, and
  3. Extensions to artificial entities in the intelligence age.

“The corporate personhood debate offers a cautionary tale of how if you give an inch -- and there may be very good reasons to give that first inch – that inch may be taken to a mile,” said Kim. “Treating corporations as people to facilitate commerce led to a bizarre result where corporations have displaced individuals as beneficiaries of fundamental civil rights and constitutional protections, like the freedom of religion and expression.”

The Cryptoeconomic Systems is a journal and conference series launched by MIT Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative. It aims to be a reputable venue and scholarly publication of record for impactful original research and reviews, analyses & systematizations of existing knowledge with a focus on cryptocurrency & blockchain technology.

The two-day field building summit focused on building an interdisciplinary field of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology research. The goal of the event was to bring together the technical areas of cryptography, protocol engineering and distributed systems research with insights from the domains of economics, law, complex systems and philosophy to create a scholarly ecosystem.

Watch Summer Kim’s full talk >