Anna Ivanova

Anna IvanovaUniversity of Cape Town

Anna Todorova Ivanova is completing her LL.M. studies and dissertation at the Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Cologne, Germany with specialisation in European and International Law and the First State Exam at the Higher Regional Court in Cologne.

Her current research focuses on Artificial Intelligence – the present state of development and future opportunities – and the possibility of introducing legal personality to AI agents under international law with reference to the legal framework this could require.

Legal personality of Artificial Intelligence under International Law

To be able to offer a deeper understanding of the topic this work will first examine the concept of legal personality, its meaning and application in the legal framework of international law over the years. Without claiming advanced technological knowledge in scientific areas like robotics and engineering the presentation will then try to present some overview over the latest developments concerning Artificial Intelligence. The questions introduced throughout the introduction will engage with the nature and different forms of legal personhood, its connection to intelligence and/or consciousness.


– Legal personality within the international law
– Artificial Intelligence

If Artificial Intelligence is not yet defined within the legal framework, where should be the link between these two terms in the legal context? Do rights and obligations reflect the ability/possibility to participate in legal life and organize legal interaction? Are they connected to the ability to cause and experience damage? Could a closer relation be established between legal personhood of AI and such of humans or rather such of organised entities and corporations?


Research and analysis:

– Self learning machines and algorithms, Advanced Robotics, Emotional Intelligence
– “Electronic Personhood” - domestic law systems and international law

Subject of reference will be international law and recent developments in EU law, such as the European Parliament initiative of introducing an “electronic personhood”. A lot of the conceptual ideas of international law first gained their legal existence in domestic legal life. For this reason the presentation will examine some regulations and “visions” of national legislation, for example in Estonia and the US. The present state will be shown with regard to concepts of future developments and research projects, such as quantum computing and generated machine consciousness.

– Legal Personality of AI – present and future

Could the concept of legal personality be applied to AI at its present stage of development or are modifications required. Would such modifications become necessary at a later point and how could they look like? How would possible legal reforms affect society, also referring to sociological and psychological perspectives?
Conclusion and Discussion:

– Advantages, dangers?

The advantages and dangers that the different options bear now and for the future, such as creating a robotic or technical veil, which similar to the corporate veil may at some point need to be pierced.
In the final part of the dissertation some conclusions will be drown in accordance with future prognoses.