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Robots, ethics, law
There are two interwoven trends in cyber-counterterrorism. On the one hand, countries such as Israel and Russia announce the deployment of lethal autonomous weapons. Such weapons constitute the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms. On the other hand, researchers try and embed ethics into the design of these weapons (so-called artificial conscience or "ethics by design"). The contention of this paper is that artificial conscience is a mere marketing ruse aimed at making the deployment of lethal autonomous weapons and other autonomous robots acceptable in society. Whereas there are strong reasons to object to this trend, some solutions to the pitfalls of ethics by design have been presented. However, they do not seem viable in a military context. In particular, the so-called customised-ethics approach is applicable only to commercial and civil machines. When deciding whether to kill 600 civilians in order to hit 14 al-Qaeda leaders, which set of values should be implemented? This is a compelling argument for banning lethal autonomous weapons altogether. PLEASE CITE AS Guido Noto La Diega, ‘The artificial conscience of lethal autonomous weapons: marketing ruse or reality?’ (2018) 1 Law and the Digital Age 1-17
Italy has been one of the first countries in the world to enact ad hoc regulations on drones. Therefore, the Italian approach may constitute a model for many regulations to come; nonetheless, the legal literature seems to overlook the phenomenon. In this article, I place the discourse on drones in the context of some more general considerations on the main legal issues related to the deployment of machines, including robots, in our everyday life. Indeed, most considerations apply equally to robots and drones, moving from the unrefined, albeit practical, observation that the latter are robots equipped with wings. An analysis of the intellectual property, data protection, privacy, and liability issues is carried out bearing in mind the complexity arising from the increasing implementation of cloud computing and artificial intelligence technologies. The article claims that autonomous machines will outclass human beings in all their tasks, but the horror vacui ought to be avoided: a new unforeseeable society will come. Therein, human beings – granted that a distinction between them and machines will still make sense – will not have to work in order to be able to live. PLEASE CITE AS: G. NOTO LA DIEGA, Machine rules. Of drones, robots and the info-capitalist society, in Italian Law Journal, 2016, II, 367-404
The deployment of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) is a controversial and emotive subject, one that asks questions of human ethics and morals. Is it desirable or even possible to deploy morally sound LAWS? Dr Guido Noto La Diega, from Northumbria University, analyses this topic in a seminar at the University of Hull, entitled, “Towards the deployment of good killer robots”. Tom Dent-Spargo also caught up with him the next day to chat about the dangers and issues of coding L AWS with human morality. Please cite as Tom Dent-Spargo, ‘Deploying “good killer robots” (2019) 4(5) The Robotics Law Journal 6.
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 gen-erally, 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.