On the legal responsibility of autonomous machines

Artificial Intelligence and Law 25 (3):293-304 (2017)
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The paper concerns the problem of the legal responsibility of autonomous machines. In our opinion it boils down to the question of whether such machines can be seen as real agents through the prism of folk-psychology. We argue that autonomous machines cannot be granted the status of legal agents. Although this is quite possible from purely technical point of view, since the law is a conventional tool of regulating social interactions and as such can accommodate various legislative constructs, including legal responsibility of autonomous artificial agents, we believe that it would remain a mere ‘law in books’, never materializing as ‘law in action’. It is not impossible to imagine that the evolution of our conceptual apparatus will reach a stage, when autonomous robots become full-blooded moral and legal agents. However, today at least, we seem to be far from this point.



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