An interdisciplinary approach to multi-agent systems : bridging the gap between law and computer science
Title: An interdisciplinary approach to multi-agent systems : bridging the gap between law and computer science
Author: LAUKYTE, Migle
Citation: Informatica e Diritto, 2013, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 223–241
Research in multi-agent systems (MASs) has given rise to new issues in sociology, psychology and other social sciences. But the effect on legal science has not been quite the same: the computational simulation of legally relevant social activities and phenomena is a research area that has yet to come into its own. Why is that so? And what can be done to encourage the development of such simulations? This paper attempts an answer to these questions by developing two related ideas that could change the current situation for the better: the first is the interdisciplinary idea of boundary objects; the second, that of an agent’s autonomy. As concerns boundary objects, I argue that an important reason why the simulation of legal phenomena is not making much headway is a certain language barrier between lawyers and software engineers. One way in which this barrier can be taken down is through an approach that – by bringing to bear the sociological concept of a boundary object – makes it possible for the relative research communities to relate to one another and work together in building a legal MAS. The second idea is that of the autonomy which can be ascribed to an agent within a MAS. I work out a legal concept of autonomy and identify a threshold of autonomous action that would trigger legal consequences. With that done,I tie this idea of autonomy to the previous discussion on boundary objects by treating autonomy itself as a boundary object. In other words, I illustrate how, if we can spell out in a clear enough way what autonomous action means in the law, then we will also have a roadmap we can rely on in developing autonomous agents and building MASs that would be more effective at simulating or reproducing social interactions in areas of activity which fall within the purview of the law.
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