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Law and Regulation of Artificial Intelligence and Robots: Conceptual Framework and Normative Implications

In light of the many challenges that affect attempts to devise law and regulation in a context of technological inception, this paper seeks to offer a methodology geared to the specific fields of AIs and robots. This paper addresses the following normative question: should a social planner adopt specific rules and institutions for AIs and robots or should the resolution of issues be left to Hume’s three “fundamental laws of nature”, namely ordinary rules on property and liability, contract laws and the court system? The four sections review the main regulatory approaches proposed in the existing AI and robotic literature, discusses identifiable regulatory trade-offs, that is the threats and opportunities created by the introduction of regulation in relation to AIs and robotic applications, specific areas of liability as a case-study and presents a possible methodology for the law and regulation of AIs and robots.

Abstract: Law and regulation of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) and robots is emerging, fuelled by the introduction of industrial and commercial applications in society. A common thread to many regulatory initiatives is to occur without a clear or explicit methodological framework. In light of the many challenges that affect attempts to devise law and regulation in a context of technological incipiency, this paper seeks to offer a methodology geared to the specific fields of AIs and robots. At bottom, the paper addresses the following normative question: should a social planer adopt specific rules and institutions for AIs and robots or should the resolution of issues be left to Hume’s three “fundamental laws of nature”, namely ordinary rules on property and liability, contract laws and the courts system? To explore that question, the analysis is conducted under a public interest framework.

Section 1 reviews the main regulatory approaches proposed in the existing AI and robotic literature, and stresses their advantages and disadvantages. Section 2 discusses identifiable regulatory trade-offs, that is the threats and opportunities created by the introduction of regulation in relation to AIs and robotic applications. Section 3 focuses on the specific area of liability as a case-study. Finally, Section 4 proposes a possible methodology for the law and regulation of AIs and robots. In conclusion, the paper proposes to index the regulatory response upon the nature of the externality – positive or negative – created by an AI application, and to distinguish between discrete, systemic and existential externalities.

"Law and Regulation of Artificial Intelligence and Robots: Conceptual Framework and Normative Implications" by N. Petit University of Liege – School of Law; International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE), March 9, 2017