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Should Robots and Artificial Intelligence Share Liability?

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 Intelligence

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 Waldorf personal injury attorney. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.