The Historical Dimensions of the Evolution of the Theory of Criminal Liability and the Dialectic of its Application in the Era of Artificial Intelligence: An Analytical and Prospective Study

Dr. Muaath Sulaiman Al Mulla
Associate Professor of Criminal Law
& Director of the Law Diploma Program
Kuwait International Law School


This research deals with the study, analysis and foresight of the historical dimensions of the theory of criminal responsibility and the dialectic of its application in the age of artificial intelligence, as this responsibility is deemed one of the most important theories on which criminal law is based, since it is old and its philosophy is based on the idea of attributing the crime to the person responsible for it, and proving the extent to which this crime deserves a deterrent punishment or a preventative measure. Due to jurisprudence, this theory has developed with the passage of time: after its idea was characterized by a purely material nature as it extends to humans, animals and inanimate objects, and even to others and inflicting punishment on them, its idea has become characterized by a moral-personal character, that is, by looking at the natural person as being responsible for the crime he committed, his mental ability to comprehend what he had done, and the extent of his tolerance for punishment. In addition to the jurisprudence debate on the issue of recognizing the responsibility of a legal person for criminal crimes, some penal legislation still does not accept giving up the accountability of a natural person for the crimes of a legal person.
It seems that the Fourth Industrial Revolution brought criminal jurisprudence back into the arena of controversy, after the various applications of artificial intelligence imposed a new challenge in legal thought, especially criminal thought. Jurisprudence has raised a problem and a fundamental question, which is who is criminally responsible for the crimes arising from these applications and smart devices, meaning crimes if they are committed spontaneously away from the human being? In other words, can crime be attributed to the smart machine?
The answer to that required following the historical and analytical approaches to the subtraction. We have reached several results, the most important of which is that the development and spread of artificial intelligence applications without ethical and legal restrictions poses a threat to the security and stability of societies, and that a great development has occurred for smart machines, but it is still limited, as they lack the psychological capabilities that humans possess that qualify them to bear criminal responsibility.
Among these results is also that the preponderant jurisprudential opinion believes that the responsibility of the smart machine is based on attributing it to the natural person, and that the rules of criminal law in general and criminal responsibility in particular are not compatible with the reality of the crimes of smart machines. The study concluded with the recommendation of the Kuwaiti legislator, and the Arab in general, the necessity of recognizing the legal personality of the smart machine and setting up a punitive system that matches the nature of the smart machine.

Keywords: attribution of the crime, responsibility for the crime, responsibility of a legal person, smart application, smart machines.

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