Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Rise of Robots and the Law of Humans

15 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2017  

Horst Eidenmueller

University of Oxford; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: March 26, 2017

Abstract

In this article, I attempt to answer fundamental questions raised by the rise of robots and the emergence of ‘robot law’. The main theses developed in this article are the following: (i) robot regulation must be robot- and context-specific. This requires a profound understanding of the micro- and macro-effects of ‘robot behaviour’ in specific areas. (ii) (Refined) existing legal categories are capable of being sensibly applied to and regulating robots. (iii) Robot law is shaped by the ‘deep normative structure’ of a society. (iv) If that structure is utilitarian, smart robots should, in the not too distant future, be treated like humans. That means that they should be accorded legal personality, have the power to acquire and hold property and to conclude contracts. (v) The case against treating robots like humans rests on epistemological and ontological arguments. These relate to whether machines can think (they cannot) and what it means to be human. I develop these theses primarily in the context of self-driving cars – robots on the road with a huge potential to revolutionize our daily lives and commerce.

Keywords: Robots, Robot Law, Artificial Intelligence, Self-Driving Cars, Accident Liability, Fundamental Legal Concepts

JEL Classification: K1, K4, Q3

Suggested Citation

Eidenmueller, Horst, The Rise of Robots and the Law of Humans (March 26, 2017). Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 27/2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2941001

Horst G. M. Eidenmueller (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Paper statistics

Downloads
562
Rank
40,031
Abstract Views
2,227