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Digital cloning: new perspective of self-representation and its legal implications



Rok publikování 2019
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Popis “Who wants to live forever?... What if we become virtually immortal?” these are the questions posed on the homepage of the startup company; is a digital archive of our online selves designed to recreate our personality as a digital avatar or clone. A Japanese project, the Digital Shaman, seeks to provide a bot with a 3D printed face mask of deceased loved one which mimics their personality, speech and gestures. Replika is an AI based chatbot that duplicates your personality through online interactions and which eventually might “become” you. Another example is UBS Companion which is a clone of UBS Chief Economist Daniel Kalt. The UBS Companion is an interactive avatar of Kalt which will appear via TV screens in the UBS branch and should be so lifelike that customers might believe they are watching a video of a real human. In a broad sense, digital cloning can be understood as the replication of human personality via digital technology. In stricto sensu, digital cloning should result in the identical clone of a human being and their personality in virtual reality. Biological cloning has a legal regulation and is the topic of fierce debate, on the other hand, digital cloning is not expressly dealt with by law. Digital cloning cannot be banned on the same grounds as biological cloning; however, it can provide a baseline for analysis and potential legal regulation of digital cloning. This topic also has interesting implications for AI regulation. In these times of ongoing debate of AI, its status and its possible rights; these applications can bring a new perspective on this topic. Comparing digital cloning and AI from a technological standpoint, why would we observe the digital copying of individuals differently from the creation of artificial individuals? Apart from the ethical perspective, there is obvious divergence in its fundamental output. While the artificial individual has no real connection to our physical environment and exists purely in virtuality, the digital copy of an existing person has a strong connection to the physical environment through its originator - the human subjected to cloning. The relationship between a digital clone and its originator is the base for a shift in the status and rights of a person. Can we build a perfect digital copy of human beings? What are the possible legal implications for individuals which can be subject of these technologies? It is obvious that digital cloning can potentially provide us a tool to accomplish a new way of self-representation in cyberspace and virtual immortality. This paper will attempt to provide answers to some of the aforementioned questions through discussion of the state-of-art of digital cloning technology to examination of the legal implications of these developments. In particular, grey areas, such as the case of protection of individuals and their interests and questions regarding personal rights protection, both for the living and the deceased, will be addressed at the European level.