The Liability of Robots

Robots on trial.

With the emergence of technology that can mimic humans more, the law is struggling to find ways to keep up. Already, some states have put special legislation on the books to deal with self-driving cars (DC, California, Nevada, and Florida are just some examples), but technology law is a new field. Now, Ryan Calo, a contributor to Forbes, brings up an interesting conundrum. Who is liable for defamation when the writing was generated by an algorithm? Computers can now write actual blog posts and newspaper articles. If the robot writes something defamatory, who is liable?

While the question is academic right now, consider Stephen Colbert’s satirical Twitter account, @RealHumanPraise. It’s an algorithm that combines Fox News references with Rotten Tomatoes movie reviews. It’s worth a look. For Calo’s arguments, you can read his draft article on the cyberlaw of robotics here.

Forbes – Can You Sue A Robot For Defamation?