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The Person in Virtual Reality

Wed 6th Nov, 2013
The Person in Virtual Reality Conference Saturday January 18 2014.- Read some abstracts here......

What happens to people when real life becomes virtual? This conference explores topics such as the moral status of robots, the implications of virtual violence, and what on-line identity means legally and in non Western cultures. Some abstracts from the talks....



Professor Burkhard Shafer –Professor of Computational Legal Theory

Director SCRIPT Centre for IT and IP Law

Title: Of wicked wizards and indigo jackals: legal regulation of online identity in cultural comparative perspective.


Regulation of digital identity and digital identity management systems are high on the agenda of the UK government and the European Union. Despite the global nature of the internet phenomenon though, proposed legislative initiatives bear the clear hallmark of a very specific, western-centric understanding of the notion of “identity”. Whether this conception can be extended to other cultures, and in particular to those in the rapidly increasing online markets in Asia, has been doubted. The paper will look at online identity in India, questioning how concepts from Hinduism on the one hand, pan-Indian mythology on the other can shed light on the commensurability of the notion of identity, identity theft and identity protection that can underpin legal and other regulatory solutions to online identity assurance.

Legal content: the paper will touch upon the current EU and UK discussion to create a legal regime for online identity assurance, and also a comparative legal analysis of Indian and UK law.


Dr Joanna Bryson


Patiency Is Not a Virtue: Intelligent Artefacts and the Design of Ethical Systems


There are two aspects of being a moral subject: agency (where the

subject has moral responsibility for their actions) and patiency

(where we have moral responsibility for how we treat the subject).

With respect to artificial intelligence (AI) there are therefore four

moral questions: can and should we afford AI moral agency or moral

patiency? These questions are not amenable either to discovery or

mere reasoning, because we as societies are constantly constructing

our artefacts, including our ethical systems. Here I briefly examine

the origins and nature of moral systems in a variety of species, then

propose a definition of morality that facilitates the debate

concerning not only whether it is ethical for us to afford moral

agency and patiency to AI, but also whether it is ethical for us to

build AI we would be obliged to award status as moral subject.


Paul Motion Partner bto Solicitors

Title The Right to be Forgotten - an impossible pipe dream in The Internet of Things?


The European Union has exhorted Member States to enact laws protecting personal data and affording individual data subjects the right to be informed about the processing of their data. The UK's Data Protection Act specifically provides that a data subject may require a data controller to cease processing personal data where processing is likely to cause damage or distress, and further provides that a court may order the blocking erasure or destruction of inaccurate personal data. The European Commission has in recent years gone further and mooted a wider individual right called 'the right to be forgotten'. The Commission seems to have back tracked during 2013 and is now speaking only of a 'right to demand erasure'. The paper will look at the issues surrounding the individual's right to be forgotten on line and will consider whether such a right could ever be given meaningful effect in the so called emerging "Internet of Things" where information is increasingly shared between a myriad of devices.