Robots and the Law, and a Question About Unauthorized Practice

An interesting article in the Boston Globe explores issues relating to robots and the law.

The article points out:

With most robot-like machines that exist today, any serious problems can be easily traced back to a human somewhere, whether because the machine was used carelessly or because it was intentionally programmed to do harm. But experts in artificial intelligence and the emerging field of robot ethics say that is likely to change. With the advent of technological marvels like the self-driving car and increasingly sophisticated drones, they say we’ll soon be seeing the emergence of machines that are essentially autonomous. And when these machines behave in ways unpredictable to their makers, it will be unclear who should be held legally responsible for their actions.


As weird as it may sound, some experts, including [Gabriel] Hallevy, are suggesting that blame may need to be placed on the robots themselves. Though there’s something absurd about subjecting amoral machines to justice, Hallevy argues in his forthcoming book that the question is not really about morality—it’s about awareness. And under existing criminal law, he says, a machine with full autonomy can and should be held criminally liable for its actions. “Evil is not required,” Hallevy said. “An offender—a human, a corporation, or a robot—is not required to be evil. He is only required to be aware [of what he’s doing].” In his book, Hallevy argues that being “aware,” whether you’re a human or a robot, involves nothing more than absorbing factual information about the world and accurately processing it. Under that narrow definition, he writes, robots have been sophisticated enough to qualify for criminal liability since the 1980s.

So what does that do for unauthorized practice of law rules?  Particularly when document assembly becomes intelligent, not just in sense that it branches, but in the sense that it “learns” from outcomes to change question and assembly decisions?


About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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