Artificial intelligence raises new legal and civil rights questions

Artificial intelligence features heavily in science fiction, from 2001: A Space Odyssey to Star Wars, but AI systems may soon become commonplace in day to day activities. Ten years from now, one third of standard jobs are expected to be completed by robots. While this may raise many concerns, perhaps the most unexpected issue lies with which legal and civil rights will be granted to artificially intelligent beings.

Recently, an artificially intelligent system in Switzerland that was programmed to shop online purchased several illegal items and was subsequently arrested. However, neither the system nor its creators were prosecuted. Cases like this question who should be held accountable for crimes committed by AI systems. Can artificially intelligent beings be held responsible for their actions? If the system is acting independently and is charged with a crime similar to how a human being would be charged, should the AI system be considered to have its own individual identity? And if AI systems have their own identities, should they also be granted the same rights as a human being? After all, a robot was created that could pass a test signifying that that it is self aware, a test that before only humans could pass.

While science fiction appears to have spent years preparing the world for the introduction of artificial intelligence into every day activities, the ethical and legal problems concerning the new technology are still surprising law enforcers and creators alike.

Article via TechCrunch, August 22, 2015

Photo: Electric Neuron via Ronny R [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]