AI & Law: Using Legal Fiction To Punish AI

Lance Eliot
6 min readSep 13, 2022
Stretching the use of legal fiction to go after wayward AI

by Dr. Lance B. Eliot

For a free podcast of this article, visit this link or find our AI & Law podcast series on Spotify, iTunes, iHeartRadio, plus on other audio services. For the latest trends about AI & Law, visit our website

Key briefing points about this article:

  • Courts use the mechanism of legal fiction to help smooth out rough spots in the law
  • A legal fiction is an assumption or acceptance of something as fact, though it might not be
  • Some are proposing that AI ought to be covered via a newly conceived legal fiction
  • In brief, AI would get a form of legal personhood but only in the legal fiction semblance
  • This has generated intense debate and continues to be bandied about


In the law, sometimes there is a need to craft a somewhat fictional aspect for purposes of allowing the wheels of justice to spin freely and not get unduly gummed up.

That’s where legal fiction can handily come to play.

Per the definition of the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute (LII), a legal fiction is formally denoted as “an assumption and acceptance of something as…



Lance Eliot

Dr. Lance B. Eliot is a renowned global expert on AI, successful startup founder, global CIO/CTO, , was a top exec at a major Venture Capital (VC) firm.