Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 163–180

Ambient Intelligence, Criminal Liability and Democracy

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11572-007-9042-1

Cite this article as:
Hildebrandt, M. Criminal Law, Philosophy (2008) 2: 163. doi:10.1007/s11572-007-9042-1


In this contribution we will explore some of the implications of the vision of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) for law and legal philosophy. AmI creates an environment that monitors and anticipates human behaviour with the aim of customised adaptation of the environment to a person’s inferred preferences. Such an environment depends on distributed human and non-human intelligence that raises a host of unsettling questions around causality, subjectivity, agency and (criminal) liability. After discussing the vision of AmI we will present relevant research in the field of philosophy of technology, inspired by the post-phenomenological position taken by Don Ihde and the constructivist realism of Bruno Latour. We will posit the need to conceptualise technological normativity in comparison with legal normativity, claiming that this is necessary to develop democratic accountability for the implications of emerging technologies like AmI. Lastly we will investigate to what extent technological devices and infrastructures can and should be used to achieve compliance with the criminal law, and we will discuss some of the implications of non-human distributed intelligence for criminal liability.


Criminal liabilityAgencyDistributed intelligenceAmbient intelligenceDemocracyRule of lawCausality

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Faculteit Rechten en CriminologieVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselBelgium