Artificial Intelligence and Law

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 425–453 | Cite as

Neminem laedere. An evolutionary agent-based model of the interplay between punishment and damaging behaviours

  • Nicola LettieriEmail author
  • Domenico Parisi


This article aims at contributing to the discussion about the relationships between ICT, computer science and policy-making by focusing on agent-based social simulation. Enabled, from a technical point of view, by the developments of Distributed Artificial Intelligence in the 1990s and by the features of the object-oriented programming paradigm, agent-based social simulations are a tool for the analysis of social dynamics that can be used also to support the design and the evaluation of public policies. After a brief description of social simulation paradigm and of its impact on social sciences, the paper presents a simple agent-based model devised to analyze, even if in a very abstract way, a phenomenon that can rouse the interest of legal scientists: the interplay between damaging behaviors, punishment and social mechanisms of learning and imitation. Our goal is to show how agent-based simulation can be used not only to illuminate basic mechanisms underlying social phenomena but also to reflect, in an innovative way, on how society can deal with them.


Artificial societies Agent-based social simulation Policy making Punishment Damaging behaviours 



Authors would like to thank Antonio Cervo, Rosario De Chiara (University of Salerno, Department of Computer Science) and Federico Cecconi (Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, Italian National Research Council, Rome) for their support in the development of NetLogo simulation. Authors are also grateful to Sebastiano Faro (Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques—Italian National Research Council, Florence) and to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SannioBeneventoItaly
  2. 2.ISFOLRomeItaly
  3. 3.Institute of Cognitive Sciences and TechnologiesItalian National Research CouncilRomeItaly

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