Our Best Defense Against Robots May Be Lawyers


Robots are real. We know this at some level.  MIT is developing robot lets that can run and jump, the Christian Science Monitor describes how some can recover from stumbles. Imagine how that might help in fighting fires or battles.  Now imagine what go wrong. There is a level of  “Danger, Will Robinson”, and lawyers may be your first defense against these droids gone wrong.

Oy, Robot!
While nobody expects a band of Terminators to attack or a “2001: A Space Odyssey” computer that takes control, even benign robots will have legal, socialand ethical consequences. What happens if a robot crushes your foot, chases your cat off a ledge or smacks your baby? Or better, what if the neighbor teen hacks your cleaning robot with their iphone, and trashes your house? The teen is judgment proof, due to a lack of assets, so thoughts for recovery naturally turn toward the manufacturer.

SeatlePi suggests that when robots go rogue, people won’t call the army as they do in movies, but rather lawyers. Scientists and legal scholars are just starting to explore the legal effects of robot liability. Here’s an good overview by Stanford’s Center for Internet and society on liability and personal robots.

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