I t is predicted that, byrobots and machines driven by artificial intelligence AI will perform half of all productive functions in the workplace — companies already use robots across many industries, but the sheer scale is likely to prompt some new moral and legal questions. Machines currently have no protected legal rights but, as they become more intelligent and act more like humans, will the legal standards at play need to change?

To answer this question, we need to take a good hard look at the nature of robotics and our own system of ethics, tackling a situation unlike anything the human race has ever known. The state of robotics at the moment is so comparatively underdeveloped that most of these questions will just be hypotheticals that will be nearly impossible to answer.

Can, and should, robots be compensated for their work, and could they be represented by unions and, if so, could a human union truly stand up for robot working rights, or would there always be an inherent tension? Would robots, as workers, be eligible for holiday and sick leave? If a robot harms a co-worker, who would be responsible? If a robot invents a new product in the workplace, who or what owns the intellectual property?

Can robots be discriminatory, and how should it be dealt with? Amazon was developing a recruitment engine to find top talent and make employing new people more efficient — the company found that the AI system had developed a bias against female candidates. It was trained to screen applications by observing patterns in old CVs — one of those patterns was that they were mostly submitted by men, and so the machine trained itself to vet out female applicants.

And if a robot was sexist to a co-worker, how should it be dealt with? Robots can learn negative attitudes based simply on their programming. This dilemma is a massive legal issue — if there was litigation related to a decision that a robot made, who would face trouble?

Would it be the engineer, the manufacturer, the retailer, or the robot itself? And, if it were the robot, what steps could the legal system conceivably take to deal with it? This discussion of robot rights may seem a way off, but there is some precedence.

The actual motivation for this was a simple PR stunt, intended to promote an IT conference, as so the actual nature of those rights, or what the move may mean for other robots, remains unclear.


Advances in robotics and AI mean that these issues are only going to become more pressing in the future, and we really are entering a legally and morally unprecedented time when dealing with them. And, of course, it links to a further question that is really at the heart of this issue — when we discuss rights for robots, are we doing it in their interest, or our own?

By Reece Goodall.In modern times, life is less about keeping up with the Joneses and more about keeping up with the Jetsons.

Technology has infiltrated almost every aspect of life, to the point where a dead cellphone feels like a lost limb. With developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning, battery-dead devices will begin to feel like lost companions.

From Siri to smart cars to online advertisements, artificial intelligence is currently affecting life. The full range of rewards, and risks, that arise from the use of these technologies has not been fully explored.

However, there are at least five legal issues innately associated with AI and machine learning. When it comes to AI and machine learning, there are currently more legal questions than answers.

Artificial intelligence legal issues have yet arisen. When they do, will we be ready to listen? How does machine learning fit in Law? Law, including AI lawyersis but one area to be disrupted by AI. If you are a company able to pay a reasonable legal fee each month, please contact us today.

Yes No. AI computes faster than Congress. Technology has been developing at the most rapid rate since the Industrial Revolution; quicker than the law can pace. So, when legal issues arise, more often than not, they are a case of first impression.

Lawyers who have an AI case fall into their lap will be treading into uncharted territory, without a map, and trying cases in front of judges who may not comprehend the technology.

Top 9 ethical issues in artificial intelligence

Who is at fault? If an accident involves AI, trying to find the liable party is like playing a science-fiction version of Clue.

A smart car hits a pedestrian, who is the guilty party? The programmer in the office with the source code? The owner on the road with the car?Robots are the technology of the future. But the current legal system is incapable of handling them. This generic statement is often the premise for considerations about the possibility of awarding rights and liabilities to these machines at some, less-than clearly identified, point in time. Discussing the adequacy of existing regulation in accommodating new technologies is certainly necessary, but the ontological approach is incorrect.

The Ethical and Legal Issues of Artificial Intelligence

Instead a functional approach needs to be adopted, identifying:. Its considerations and conclusions will be taken into account in the current position paper. The first issue when discussing regulation is that of definitions, for one cannot regulate something without firstly defining it. However, the term robot is technical and encompasses a wide range of applications that have very little in common. For this very reason, it is impossible to develop a unitary body of rules applicable to all kinds of robotic applications, rather different rules should apply to different classes of devices.

The major issue when discussing civil law rules on robotics is that of liability for damages. Automation might, to some extent, challenge some of the existing paradigms; and increasing human-machine cooperation might cause different sets of existing rules to overlap, leading to uncertainty, thence increased litigation and difficulties in insuring new products. Connected to the above is robot testing. A clear legal framework for robot testing outside the restricted environment of the laboratory is needed to assess the kind of dangers that might emerge with the use and their statistical frequency also for insurance purposes.

Similarly, standardization and the development of adequate, narrow-tailored technical standards for different kinds of robots is a major concern, both to ensure product safety and the adoption of possible alternatives to existing liability rules.

A possible non-issue when discussing rules for robotics is that of the attribution of personhood. This, if intended in an ontological way, is deprived of any reasonable grounding in both technical, philosophical and legal considerations. Instead, if understood in a purely functional way the attribution of legal personhood like in the case for corporations might be open for discussion in some cases.

Considering some more specific kinds of applications, in particular biorobotic devices and the issue of human enhancement, its regulation and management becomes of the greatest importance and quite likely the single most relevant bioethical issues of the nearby future, requiring ad-hoc regulation to be adopted. Finally, privacy regulation, access to data and data use is of pivotal importance, not only for the development of a European Robotics industry but more broadly for a digital market.

All the mentioned issues might fall under some — direct or indirect — competences of the EU and would certainly benefit from regulations adopted at a supranational thence European level. The Resolution addresses all the above mentioned issues with consistent considerations, depicting an adequate framework for a technical — legal — debate about what narrow tailored sets of rules should be adopted at the EU level.

Overall, it is of the greatest political and strategical importance for defining a modern legal system, favorable to the immersion of new technologies and the proliferation of new businesses. What needs to be avoided are nominalistic discussions which would inevitably emerge as soon as a regulation was adopted should the notion of robot be too narrow. Debates about whether a robot requires to be autonomous or not, controlled or not, embodied or not are irrelevant from a legal point of view.

Instead, such characteristics should allow to distinguish sub-classes of robots that might be regulated unitarily.

Thence, next to a broader and all-encompassing definition of robot that should include software and non-embodied AInarrower definitions should be elaborated, pooling together those applications that show some relevant similarities and that can be regulated unitarily.

Liability: Human-machine cooperation will cause different sets of rules to overlap namely product liability rules and traditional tort law principles. This will cause high levels of uncertainty and litigation, delaying innovation. With respect to compensation, it is, in many cases, sensible to separate the function of ensuring product safety from that of providing the victim with compensation.

More broadly, the inadequacies of existing rules in particular product liability rules might suggest to radically replace a fault based rule with a risk-management approach based on absolute liability rules holding liable the party who is better placed to minimize the cost and acquire insurance Resolution nn.

A one-stop-shop approach might be sensible, preventing complex litigation to apportion liability among different players involved. Which solution is preferable depends on the class of applications considered, the market for such products and the possibility to address those risks through insurance Resolution nn. Testing: a uniform set of rules allowing testing outside the laboratories and even in human environments should be adopted, defining clear standards in particular with respect to safety, insurance and management of the experiment thus reducing discretionary powers of local authorities Resolution n.Ethics and law are inextricably linked in modern society, and many legal decisions arise from the interpretation of various ethical issues.

Artificial intelligence adds a new dimension to these questions. Systems that use artificial intelligence technologies are becoming increasingly autonomous in terms of the complexity of the tasks they can perform, their potential impact on the world and the diminishing ability of humans to understand, predict and control their functioning.

Most people underestimate the real level of automation of these systems, which have the ability to learn from their own experience and perform actions beyond the scope of those intended by their creators.

This causes a number of ethical and legal difficulties that we will touch upon in this article. There is a well-known thought experiment in ethics called the trolley problem.

The experiment raises a number of important ethical issues that are directly related to artificial intelligence. Imagine a runaway trolley going down the railway lines.

There are five people tied to the track ahead. You are standing next to a lever. If you pull it, the trolley will switch to a different set of track. However, there is another person tied to that set of track. Do you pull the lever or not? There is no clear-cut answer to this question. What is more, there are numerous situations in which such a decision may have to be made [1].

And different social groups tend to give different answers. For example, Buddhist monks are overwhelmingly willing to sacrifice the life of one person in order to save five, even if presented with a more complicated variation of the trolley problem.

As for artificial intelligence, such a situation could arise, for example, if a self-driving vehicle is travelling along a road in a situation where an accident is unavoidable. The question thus arises as to whose lives should take priority — those of the passengers, the pedestrians or neither.

A special website has been created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that deals with this very issue: users can test out various scenarios out on themselves and decide which courses of action would be the most worthwhile. Other questions also arise in this case: What actions can be allowed from the legal point of view? What should serve as a basis for such decisions? Who should ultimately be held responsible? This problem has already been addressed by companies and regulators.

Representatives at Mercedes, for example, have said outright that their cars will prioritize the lives of passengers.We use cookies to improve your experience on our website.

By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our updated Cookie Notice. Optimizing logistics, detecting fraud, composing art, conducting research, providing translations: intelligent machine systems are transforming our lives for the better.

As these systems become more capable, our world becomes more efficient and consequently richer. Tech giants such as Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft — as well as individuals like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk — believe that now is the right time to talk about the nearly boundless landscape of artificial intelligence.

In many ways, this is just as much a new frontier for ethics and risk assessment as it is for emerging technology. So which issues and conversations keep AI experts up at night?

The hierarchy of labour is concerned primarily with automation. Look at trucking: it currently employs millions of individuals in the United States alone. But on the other hand, if we consider the lower risk of accidents, self-driving trucks seem like an ethical choice. The same scenario could happen to office workers, as well as to the majority of the workforce in developed countries.

This is where we come to the question of how we are going to spend our time. Most people still rely on selling their time to have enough income to sustain themselves and their families.

We can only hope that this opportunity will enable people to find meaning in non-labour activities, such as caring for their families, engaging with their communities and learning new ways to contribute to human society. If we succeed with the transition, one day we might look back and think that it was barbaric that human beings were required to sell the majority of their waking time just to be able to live.

Our economic system is based on compensation for contribution to the economy, often assessed using an hourly wage. The majority of companies are still dependent on hourly work when it comes to products and services.

But by using artificial intelligence, a company can drastically cut down on relying on the human workforce, and this means that revenues will go to fewer people.

Consequently, individuals who have ownership in AI-driven companies will make all the money. We are already seeing a widening wealth gap, where start-up founders take home a large portion of the economic surplus they create.

Inroughly the same revenues were generated by the three biggest companies in Detroit and the three biggest companies in Silicon Valley Artificially intelligent bots are becoming better and better at modelling human conversation and relationships.

Ina bot named Eugene Goostman won the Turing Challenge for the first time. In this challenge, human raters used text input to chat with an unknown entity, then guessed whether they had been chatting with a human or a machine.

legal issues with robots

Eugene Goostman fooled more than half of the human raters into thinking they had been talking to a human being. This milestone is only the start of an age where we will frequently interact with machines as if they are humans; whether in customer service or sales.

While humans are limited in the attention and kindness that they can expend on another person, artificial bots can channel virtually unlimited resources into building relationships.

legal issues with robots

Even though not many of us are aware of this, we are already witnesses to how machines can trigger the reward centres in the human brain. Just look at click-bait headlines and video games. This and other methods are used to make numerous video and mobile games become addictive.

Tech addiction is the new frontier of human dependency. On the other hand, maybe we can think of a different use for software, which has already become effective at directing human attention and triggering certain actions. When used right, this could evolve into an opportunity to nudge society towards more beneficial behavior. However, in the wrong hands it could prove detrimental. Systems usually have a training phase in which they "learn" to detect the right patterns and act according to their input.

Once a system is fully trained, it can then go into test phase, where it is hit with more examples and we see how it performs. Obviously, the training phase cannot cover all possible examples that a system may deal with in the real world. These systems can be fooled in ways that humans wouldn't be. But it can go wrong, such as when a camera missed the mark on racial sensitivity, or when a software used to predict future criminals showed bias against black people. Once again, if used right, or if used by those who strive for social progress, artificial intelligence can become a catalyst for positive change.Intelligent Assistive Robots pp Cite as.

The population aged 60 will surpass that of younger people and, to make things even worst, current trends in social relations indicate that family carers are no more willing to look after their older relatives. Such a situation has given more emphasis to the rise of robotics as a possible solution to deal with the demographic change and the new social norms in the care of elderly and disabled people.

This chapter intends to provide the reader with an overview of the main ethical, legal and societal challenges concerning the use of care robots. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content. Advertisement Hide. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Vallor, S. ISO Google Scholar. Graham, J. Beckford, M. The Telegraph October Google Scholar. Atanackovic, J. Sharkey, A.

Verruggio, G. Von Schomberg, R. In: Owen, R.

legal issues with robots

Responsible Innovation. John Wiley, London forthcoming Google Scholar. Parks, J. Borenstein, J. Mitzner, T. Coeckelbergh, M. A methodological reflection on capabilities and the evaluation of information technologies. In: Lin, P. Robot Ethics. Datteri, E. In: Ethics and Robotics. Feil-Seifer, D. CrossRef Google Scholar. Nylander, S. Special Eurobarometer Public Attitudes Towards Robots Report. Oppenauer-Meerskraut, C.

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legal issues with robots

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