The European Strategy on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Too Much Ethics, Too Little Security

(2017) 3(2) European Cybersecurity Journal 6

11 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2017 Last revised: 7 Jan 2018

Date Written: July 1, 2017


There is an increasing interest in the ethical design of robots. As evidence of this fact, one may refer to some recent reports and the European Parliament’s resolution on civil law rules on robotics. The latter will be the primary focus of this analysis since the EU Parliament is the first legal institution in the world to have initiated work of a law on robots and artificial intelligence. The European strategy on robotics seems affected by two main problems: an excessive emphasis on ethics at the expense of security, and more generally, a lack of awareness of the critical role played by the operation of striking a balance between competing interests. Balancing is pivotal to the interpretation and application of the law. And the current development of AI technologies does not enable the delegation of the operation to robots. Certainly, the most controversial point regards the status of robots as electronic persons. Even though the suggestion may seem extreme, it may prove to be successful, for at least three reasons. First, robots are becoming more and more similar to humans (anthropomorfisation and AI). Second, humans are becoming increasingly akin to robots (artificial enhancement). Third, the robot’s legal personality would be profitable for the robotic industry.

Keywords: Robots, Robotics, Robot Law, Robolaw, Roboethics, Robot Ethics, Electronic Person, Legal Personality, Ethics by Design, Value-Sensitive Design, Moral Machines, Moral Robots, Ethical Robots, Ethical Machines

JEL Classification: K13, K20, K32, L52, L63, L64, L86

Suggested Citation

Noto La Diega, Guido, The European Strategy on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Too Much Ethics, Too Little Security (July 1, 2017). (2017) 3(2) European Cybersecurity Journal 6, Available at SSRN:

Guido Noto La Diega (Contact Author)

University of Stirling ( email )

Pathfoot Building
Stirling Law School
STIRLING, Stirling FK9 4LA
United Kingdom


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