Robot Law

Robot Law

Edited by Ryan Calo, A. Michael Froomkin and Ian Kerr

Robot Law brings together exemplary research on robotics law and policy – an area of scholarly inquiry responding to transformative technology. Expert scholars from law, engineering, computer science and philosophy provide original contributions on topics such as liability, warfare, domestic law enforcement, personhood, and other cutting-edge issues in robotics and artificial intelligence. Together the chapters form a field-defining look at an area of law that will only grow in importance.


A. Michael Froomkin

Subjects: innovation and technology, technology and ict, law - academic, internet and technology law, law and society, legal philosophy, legal theory, public international law, terrorism and security law, politics and public policy, public policy, terrorism and security


Like the Internet before it, robotics is a socially and economically transformative technology. The chapters that follow explore how the increasing sophistication of robots and their widespread deployment everywhere from the home to hospitals, public spaces, and the battlefield requires rethinking a wide variety of philosophical and public policy issues, interacts uneasily with existing legal regimes, and thus may counsel changes in policy and in law. These discussions are necessary and timely. The state of thinking about legal and policy issues relating to robotics today is analogous to how scholars and policymakers approached the Internet before the World Wide Web. Imagine if in 1980 (more than ten years after the first Internet standards document, RFC 1), just as the Internet was starting to grow, or even in 1992, just as the first website went online, an interdisciplinary group of scholars attempted to engage with the policy and legal issues raised by the Internet. Undoubtedly the participants would have failed to foresee all the consequences of the Internet, good and bad, that we enjoy today. It is probable, however, that they would have identified key difficulties relating to domain names and trademarks, information security, access for the disabled, and privacy, to name only a few. By the time these issues were, in fact, recognized as significant, the installed base was sufficiently large to make changes to the relevant protocols and practices controversial (e.g., IPSEC) and in some cases (e.g., domain names) highly impractical.