The Co-evolution of Legal Responsibility and Technology
Chapter 3: Individual responsibility
As autonomous technologies are involved in harms, there could be increasing pressure to hold a larger number of people responsible for such harms. To the extent that currently existing law fails to adequately address harms caused by autonomous technologies, one reason is that the law tends to avoid responsibility by association. The legal doctrines used to frame and address harms are informed almost exclusively by the paradigm of the responsible human individual, so that even when the law purports to encompass groups of people, including business entities, the analysis tends to be framed in individualistic terms. This dovetails with generally accepted understandings of moral responsibility, which can be traced from Aristotle to the present day. This influence is felt in the legal concepts such as culpability, foreseeability, and causation. The stress on individual responsibility and the strong tie to ethics raise questions about how well legal responsibility based on personal culpability will fare when it is applied to technology with high degrees of autonomy.
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