Driverless Cars and Merciless Robots – a comparison between the legal frameworks of autonomous driving and weapon systems.

University essay from Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen; Lunds universitet/Juridiska fakulteten

Abstract: Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology advances quickly through society, with driverless cars presented as a revolutionary technological advance that can make roads safer and transport more efficient, whereas automated weapons are either viewed as undesirable, or as an unavoidable development. The objective of the present work is to, through the comparison between automated driving and automated warfare, identify the challenges in articulating legal responsibility with the usage of AI in warfare. This comparison is possible because they face similar dilemmas in their interactions with the legal world – especially in the distribution of responsibility in cases where there is targeting involved. Through a brief explanation of different scales of automation, it is possible to clarify that artificial intelligence can be applied in different parts the decision-making process, and with different degrees of autonomy from human subject – and that most of the current focus, when it comes to automated weapons, is in problematizing the possibility of decision-making in the machine, insisting in the reinforcement of a ‘relevant human control’. When it comes to driverless cars, however, decision-making in cases of car accidents is seen as a given, which makes the legal community discuss further, delving into earlier stages of decision-making, such as data processing and selection. This comparison brings to light a few shortcomings of the ability of legal systems in general to deal with arrangements in which autonomy and responsibility do not report directly to a human agent.

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