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…

Robotics and the Lessons of Cyberlaw

Two decades of analysis have produced a rich set of insights as to how the law should apply to the Internet’s peculiar characteristics. But, in the meantime, technology has not stood still. The same public and private institutions that developed the Internet, from the armed forces to search engines, have initiated a significant shift toward…

The Scored Society: Due Process for Automated Predictions

Big Data is increasingly mined to rank and rate individuals. Predictive algorithms assess whether we are good credit risks, desirable employees, reliable tenants, valuable customers — or deadbeats, shirkers, menaces, and “wastes of time.” Crucial opportunities are on the line, including the ability to obtain loans, work, housing, and insurance. Though automated scoring is pervasive…

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…