Robot law: what happens if intelligent machines commit crimes?

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By Jeffrey Wale and David Yuratich, Lecturers in Law

 

The fear of powerful artificial intelligence and technology is a popular theme, as seen in films such as Ex Machina, Chappie, and the Terminator series.

And we may soon find ourselves addressing fully autonomous technology with the capacity to cause damage. While this may be some form of military wardroid or law enforcement robot, it could equally be something not created to cause harm, but which could nevertheless do so by accident or error. What then? Who is culpable and liable when a robot or artificial intelligence goes haywire? Clearly, our way of approaching this doesn’t neatly fit into society’s view of guilt and justice.

While some may choose to dismiss this as too far into the future to concern us, remember that a robot has already been arrested for buying drugs. This also ignores how quickly technology can evolve. Look at the lessons from

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