Designing lawful machine behaviour: Roboticists' legal concerns

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Regulatory requirements weighing on roboticists are becoming heavier, and at the same time, the activity of producing robots is theorized as creating new types of legal risks. Roboticists become responsible not only for compliance to a set of regulatory objectives, but they also become responsible for giving machines an ability to make decisions in uncertain environments. All of this gives roboticists’ legal literacy a newfound importance, and reveals the lack of data on that population from a socio-legal angle. While we have some knowledge of lawyers’ and policy makers’ concerns for robots, we do not know how roboticists understand their relationship to law and regulation, or the legal value they attribute to various engineering processes. This article offers a preliminary exploration of that population and of their legal concerns, through interviews of ten engineers from Danish robotics companies. The analysis shows that they perceive legal concerns as dependant and integrated into their concerns for safety, which are themselves inferior to functionality and economy concerns. The article further highlights differences in understanding and perception of various legal matters by our informants, and from our practitioner perspective. Hopefully, highlighting these differences will by itself help close the gap between the two professions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105711
JournalComputer Law and Security Review
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Law - artificial intelligence, robotics, engineering sociology, robolaw, safety, chain of value

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