The Politics of Robotic Telepresence: Can Media be Considered a Person? With a Focus on a South Korean Case

Bae, Ilhan
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
This dissertation explores the key concept that media can be treated as a legal person. Telepresence robots, the medium of video conferencing on robot platform are treated as de facto persons with legal agency, as if the distant robot operator is actually present in the workplace. After reviewing how definitions of personhood in history have expanded from only male adults to including non-human entities such as corporations, the author suggests that the legal concept of person as a subject with rights should be applied to the human-telepresence robot that performs the roles of real persons. To establish the possibility of recognizing the human-telepresence robot as a legal person with rights, an experiment was implemented in South Korea to investigate whether human-telepresence robots would be perceived to deserve more civil and political rights than human-media without maneuverability. On average, the participants' responses to accepting the human-telepresence robot as a legal subject are not negative as regards most civil and political rights. Also, the degree of support for the rights of the human-telepresence robot is higher than for the human-media without maneuverability. It means that a telepresence robot controlled by a person is regarded as a subject deserving a considerable level of legal capacity, which has been not implementable in previous media environments. Given that a legal person can be defined as a legal subject with rights and duties, it seems reasonable to consider the medium of telepresence robots which extend the legal capacity and rights of a person in real time as another form of legal person.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
robot, telepresence, person, rights, media
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