The Criminal Liability of Artificial Intelligence Entities

42 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2010

Date Written: February 15, 2010


In 1981, a 37-year-old Japanese employee of a motorcycle factory was killed by an artificial-intelligence robot working near him. The robot erroneously identified the employee as a threat to its mission, and calculated that the most efficient way to eliminate this threat was by pushing him into an adjacent operating machine. Using its very powerful hydraulic arm, the robot smashed the surprised worker into the operating machine, killing him instantly, and then resumed its duties with no one to interfere with its mission. Unfortunately, this is not science fiction, and the legal question is: Who is to be held liable for this killing?

Keywords: criminal law, technology, artificial intelligence, robots

Suggested Citation

Hallevy, Prof. Gabriel, The Criminal Liability of Artificial Intelligence Entities (February 15, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Prof. Gabriel Hallevy (Contact Author)

Ono Academic College, Faculty of Law ( email )

104 Zahal St.
Kiryat Ono, 55000


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