Robot Laws

If there’s one interesting lawyer in the United Kingdom than it is Chrissie Lightfoot. If you’ve never heard about her, check her website here or find her on Twitter.

Chrissie’s approach to law, lawyers, law offices, and the future is unconventional. Her nickname: the naked lawyer but it isn’t what you think it is. It is a far deeper, profound method and strategy than the word “naked” implies.

Yesterday, I was reading one of her PDFs entitled: “Robot hooker, robot wife, robot marriage law.” Chrissie is fascinated with artificial intelligence and describes how people today are getting more involved on quite intimate levels with robot partners. This involvement includes using robots for sex and prostitution.

People marry their game characters online, they get attached to digital pets, and even make up entire fantasy worlds in which their partner is a robot. Chrissie wonders whether a “new law with regard to human-robot relationships will be required sooner rather than later.”

If we use robots as prostitutes will this change criminal law and effect the laws of human trafficking? Are brothels exclusively manned with robots still subject to prostitution laws or do we need new laws in which the prostitute is specifically described as artificial intelligence?

Chrissie’s article made me wonder about the effects that robots can have in domestic violence situations and whether it could reduce tension if a third partner was around e.g. the robot-spouse. On Twitter, we thought about transference of behavioral patterns. This could play a role in anger management to monitor progress by domestic violence offenders.

If robots are used in the home and later possibly get combined with driverless cars, we need to adjust aspects of family law, insurance risks, life insurance, and liability. If you think this really goes too far just check online for synthetic love and you will see university theses covering these subjects. The National Geographic did a special in the TV series Taboo on object sexuality in 2011.

And then there’s this article from the Atlantic. A quote: “Nearly everyone who sees a Doll in person has to admit that the level of work that goes into them is incredible, and the technology involved in Gynoids and androids who are capable of speech and movement is astounding without question. If animals have rights, and rightly so, why shouldn’t we treat something that looks and acts like a human with similar rights and respect?

Even if you think now that this is too far removed from what is real (or right) think again: pets’ custody gets arranged in divorce proceedings, there are virtual pets for children, and there are virtual games in which teens can simulate married life. Did we have all this 30 years ago? No, but some people were thinking about it.

You do know there is a Robotics Law Journal? Which industries will mostly use robots and which laws need to change? And think about it, if robots ever get so advanced that they can think and create who owns the copyright of the work they produce if the robot was to be considered a domestic partner versus a company owned robot?

Keep robot laws in mind for the future.

5 thoughts on “Robot Laws

  1. All that is so weird… but definitely something to think about. And if someone has thought about it and invented these robots to take the place of human interaction, then I’m sure it will be a big thing in the future. I’d like a maid and cook robot though… haha 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, I am happy with a Rosie but some use a robot because they cannot find a partner. Or as in one of the articles, they are too shy to go out and meet people.

      If such robots become more advanced we must consider people relying more on those robots for actions (and then who is the insured and the one liable?) and in the extreme, what do we do if we find out someone left their estate to their robot spouse and the siblings fight the will in court as a robot cannot “override” a human?


      1. There’s so many considerations to think of. There’s already robots doing surgeries. What if it does it wrong…do you sue a robot? I guess a Dr. is maybe manning the machine though. What if someday a human brain is transplanted into a robot, and there’s already artificial hearts…it boggles the mind to even think of it all. And they are so human looking, that you may not even know you’re talking to one! Well, anyway…Rosie was an awesome robot! 🙂


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