Of, For, and By the People: The Legal Lacuna of Synthetic Persons

Conferring legal personhood on purely synthetic entities is a very real legal possibility, one under consideration presently by the European Union. We show here that such legislative action would be morally unnecessary and legally troublesome. While AI legal personhood may have emotional or economic appeal, so do many superficially desirable hazards against which the law…

Why robot nannies probably won’t do much psychological damage

While the issue of robot child care is obviously of critical importance, an appraisal will not benefit either the field or society if it unrealistically exaggerates a threat, any more so than if it unrealistically trivialises danger. Thus while I largely concur with Sharkey and Sharkey (hereafter S&S) on many substantial and important points, I…

Applied Professional Ethics for the Reluctant Roboticist

Since robots are designed to interact with humans, robotics applications always have ethical implications. Until recent decades, most robotics applications were of an industrial nature and therefore far removed from close interactions with people for safety reasons. In that milieu, the ethical impacts of robots on human relations were more subtle and could be mostly…

Killer Robots: Legality and Ethicality of Autonomous Weapons

Military robots and other, potentially autonomous robotic systems such as unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) could soon be introduced to the battlefield. Look further into the future and we may see autonomous micro- and nanorobots armed and deployed in swarms of thousands or even millions. This growing automation of warfare…

Remote-Control Crimes

In summary, the development and use of tele-operated robotic systems will continue to present new difficulties for the enforcement of local and international laws. These systems present a new capability for committing violent crimes at great distances that did not exist before. Moreover, the ability of tele-agency to separate actors from their actions will further…