The technological world moves fast. In the last year alone, technological
advances have built on themselves and progressed to the point where we
are seeing, for example, artificial intelligence and robotics on the rise.
More recently we have seen the extent to which artificial intelligence
and robotics are becoming more mainstream in self-driving cars operating
on the roadways all around us. It is only a matter of time before these
manifestations of artificial intelligence (AI) become the norm rather
than the rarity.
The European Union is Looking to Create Legal Status for Robots
According to a recent report, the
European Union believes that we are on the precipice of the creation of guidelines and
comprehensive rules for determining the relationship between robots/AI
and humans. The rules specifically
call for the creation of liability laws and determining at what point a robot who has injured a human being may
be liable for that injury and must pay damages. The whole endeavor looks
to give legal status to robots as “electronic persons.” There
are many critics, however, who believe that a robot should be afforded
the same (or lesser than) status as an animal because at the end of the
day, it lacks free will to make decisions in the same way as a human.
Advocates for the law disagree. They believe that shortly AI could surpass
human intellectual capacity and the more and more they are integrated
into our system, the higher the likelihood that these AI/robots could
injure the humans with whom they interact.
Artificial Intelligence Liability in the United States
The United States, and Maryland in particular, has only limitedly considered
the extent to which
robots and AI should be held responsible for injuries caused to humans as a result of their programming. Currently, the
standard provides that robots and AI are instruments of the creators/manufacturers and should
be treated like any other product that is put out into the world.
Consumer Protections and the Liability of Creators of Robots and Artificial
Consumer protections should be at the center of any creator's mind when building a product
that has AI or acts like a robot. Any harm caused by these “products,”
whether as a result of an accident or defect, is jointly and severally
the responsibility of those involved in the creation, manufacturing, and
distributing of the product, unless it can be proven that negligence occurred
at one specific phase of the timeline of introducing the
product into market. If the harm was caused by a defect that was foreseeable on behalf of
the creator, producer, manufacturer, or distributor, then it is possible
that the harm could go beyond just civil damages, but it could be criminal,
especially if many lives were at stake due to wanton disregard for human
life or recklessness.
The Future May Require Robots and AI to Share Liability
There will be, in the near future, issues that go beyond the liability
of the creator of the machine, especially where the AI/robot is able to
learn and educate itself to the point that the robot is able to make cognitive
decisions (a more advanced version of a self-driving car, for example)
that goes beyond what is programmed into it by its creator. This would
show the extent to which the robot/AI has autonomy from its creator. When
that happens, the United States may have to reevaluate how civil liability
is shared for robots/AI that harm human beings in the future.
Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You
If you or your loved one was injured as a result of a defect in a product,
it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Please call the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.