Law and Autonomous Machines
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Law and Autonomous Machines

The Co-evolution of Legal Responsibility and Technology

Mark Chinen

This book sets out a possible trajectory for the co-development of legal responsibility on the one hand and artificial intelligence and the machines and systems driven by it on the other. As autonomous technologies become more sophisticated it will be harder to attribute harms caused by them to the humans who design or work with them. This will put pressure on legal responsibility and autonomous technologies to co-evolve. Mark Chinen illustrates how these factors strengthen incentives to develop even more advanced systems, which in turn strengthens nascent calls to grant legal and moral status to autonomous machines. This book is a valuable resource for scholars and practitioners of legal doctrine, ethics, and autonomous technologies.
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Chapter 6: Altering the responsible agent

Mark Chinen

Abstract

Another way to alter responsibility is to extend agency beyond the human individual. A growing awareness of how permeable the concept of responsibility is, in part because technology itself has the potential to affect the way we understand ourselves and our own agency, could make legal doctrines based on associational responsibility more acceptable or make us more open to viewing ourselves as working in tandem with artificial agents. However, even if those modifications result in the expansion of ethical and legal subjects capable of bearing responsibility, for the foreseeable future, it will be human beings that will bear the brunt of that responsibility, not the autonomous machines and systems with which they are associated. The issues discussed regarding group responsibility again make themselves felt. The end result is a meaningful possibility that there will be gaps in responsibility.

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