Friday, February 19, 2016

When Robots Commit Crime, Who Should Be Charged?
"Once the stuff of science fiction, cars driven by robots could soon become a reality—but what happens when one of these cars is involved in an accident? In a study titled, 'If Robots Cause Harm, Who Is to Blame? Self-Driving Cars and Criminal Liability,' forthcoming in New Criminal Law Review, researchers consider whether individuals who program and operate the robots should bear the responsibility for injuries, damages or loss of human life caused by the machines.

'If robots cannot be punished, under what conditions should humans be held criminally responsible for producing, programming, or using intelligent machines that cause harm?' write Sabine Gless, Emily Silverman and Thomas Weigend. 'Take, for example, a self-driving car that runs over a small child because its environment-scanning sensors misinterpreted its surroundings and failed to identify the child as a human being.'

The authors note that while private (civil) law allows 'entities other than natural persons' to be held liable for damages, 'acts' of non-human agents are difficult to accommodate in criminal law.  And since there is no international criminal law governing robots, countries must come up with solutions based on their own general rules and principles."

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