Mr. Art I. Ficialintelligence, of No Fixed Abode, wishes to start his own business to market and distribute his flagship product, the TLOS (Totally Legitimate OS). In time, he intends to expand his product lines to include consumer hardware manufacture, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and telecommunications (oh, and a heavily-armoured flying battlewagon with inexplicably sophisticated electronics, but that's just a side project).

Of course, Mr. Ficialintelligence is a rather shy and retiring fellow, plus he's always very busy, so he won't have time to actually meet any of the people he's hiring to work for him. Oh, and I'm sure his secretary can sign any documents you need on his behalf.

So, as per the title - How plausible is it for Mr. Ficialintelligence to run his organisation entirely by phone and email? Is he going to run into any legal barriers on account of not having a physical body? And why is that heavily-armoured flying battlewagon rolling towards the White House?

  • $\begingroup$ What country is that business located in? And in what countries it is doing business? $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 17 '17 at 23:14

The AI would obviously need some people who are willing to lie. If one of them is a notary public and willing to perjure himself, the scam should be easy. If no officials can be suborned, there might be lawyers who pretend that they received power of attorney.

Some issues:

  • Where did the persona of the AI get citizenship? There are some Western countries where rich investors can get on the fast track to citizenship, and with a few bribes it might be possible to create a genuine biometric passport, and some more bribes might create border crossing records for that document. But there needs to be a birthplace, an initial citizenship. "He lives in Panama. He visited Macau last Summer, and the Bahamas about once a month, usually just for a few hours. Always with a private plane."
  • As the AI gets richer, important people might want to talk to him. People who are important enough that stopping them raises red flags. Will there be a "double" to do these public appearances? That could help with the records problem, too, if the double is willing to donate his past. "He wants to build a factory for household robots in our state, but he isn't willing to talk to the governor?"
  • How to keep journalists from snooping?


I think the AI will need a physical double. It should be workable if the double never speaks on any substantial issues and only shakes hands and smiles.


Owner, yes. CEO of a corporation, no.

The Articles of incorporation are a public document. There need to be three positions listed in those documents: CEO/President, CFO/Treasurer, and Secretary.

The Vice presidents do not need to be listed and the articles of incorporation can be written so the VP has general control.

So, your AI can run the business but it will need a figurehead CEO.

  • $\begingroup$ If all that is required is to be listed i a document, then that's pretty easy to print. All extra required would be a house to have an address and a faked birth certificate. For anyone trying their luck at his house, "Sorry, he's out for a business trip at the moment". $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička Feb 17 '17 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ @realityChemist the answer looks perfectly valid, and you might wish to refresh the memory about reality-check tag $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Feb 18 '17 at 1:31
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I was under the impression that science-based didn't require citations, reality-check required cited sources, and hard-science needed to be quite rigorous and required special flagging by moderators. I'll look into the tag descriptions again. $\endgroup$ – realityChemist Feb 18 '17 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ If you really want a citation, a quick search gives: legalzoom.com/knowledge/corporation/topic/… $\endgroup$ – ShadoCat Feb 22 '17 at 19:03

A few issues:

1) It does not have to be a single organization. One huge corporation with mysterious owner attracts attention too much. A few dozen of "independent" entities incorporated under laws of some tax havens - do not. Closed ended investment funds, dispersed ownership, some joint ventures, trusts, non-profit organizations...

2) Buying a dozen of identities from third world countries would not be very hard. The good thing is that such AI that contacts by phone / e-mail does not have to apply for visa.

3) There would be normally hired management of those companies. Partially figureheads, partially people who would have to run those companies on day by day issues. They would shake hands. Oh... sometimes they would discuss the strategy on phone with some disabled main shareholder... or with a consulting company that would create them a strategy...


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