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How the Law Will Think About Robots (and Why You Should Care)

William D. Smart and Neil Richards.
In "Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE Workshop on Advanced Robotics and its Social Impacts (ARSO)", pages 50-55, Evanston, IL, 2014.

As robots and robotic devices begin to enter our everyday lives in the coming years, legislation will be written to govern them. This legislation will typically not be written by robot-savvy technologists. It will be written and passed by lawyers and legal scholar, based on their understanding of what a robot is, and what it can do. How we talk to lawmakers about robots and robotics technologies will have a profound impact on what laws are passed and on the legal frameworks that emerge. In this paper, we argue that we must be careful about the metaphors we use to describe our systems when talking to lawmakers, and draw some parallels from the now well-established field of cyberlaw. We briefly discuss what it means to "think like a lawyer", and show how using different metaphors for our systems could lead to radically different legislation being passed. Finally, we describe and discuss what we call the Android Fallacy; the pitfall of thinking about robots as anything other than (potentially very sophisticated) deterministic machines.

@inproceedings{arso2014,
  author = {Smart, William D. and Richards, Neil M.},
  title = {How the Law Will Think About Robots (and Why You Should Care)},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2014 {IEEE} Workshop on Advanced Robotics and its Social Impacts ({ARSO})},
  pages = {50--55},
  address = {Evanston, IL},
  year = {2014}
}