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Rights for Robots ?

With artificial intelligence, robots are gaining their independence! So will they have their own legal status one day?

Rights for Robots ?

Robots are everywhere! In companies, in hospitals and of course in our daily lives. Nobody can deny the advantages that discoveries in the robotics have brought. Today they are cropping up in every area of activity in our societies.

However, with the advent of artificial intelligence, which gives robots a real measure of autonomy, the problem now arises of their emancipation from their creator. Some legal experts are even going as far as to raise the question of the "legal personality" of robots.

This would give them the same standing as humans, as legal subjects! If we apply this theory to the healthcare field, the robot, considered as intelligent, would become responsible for any harm it caused to the patient.

This raises the question of liability. Who would be liable for the damage caused? The designer of the robot? The manufacturer? The robot itself? How can this risk be insured to protect victims, who could well find themselves defenceless? 

For the time being, this issue of the liability of robots seems to belong to the domain of legal forward thinking. In law, liability rests on the capacity for discernment of the tortfeasor. What remains to be seen is what degree of discretion we are willing to consider that robots have.


One recent example has thrown some light on the legal ambiguities that await us when it comes to the liability of robots. Connected cars seem to be the way forward and are expected to make us safer. Yet the question of liability in the event of an accident remains unanswered. 

"Robots will never replace humans.

The legal debate is only just beginning. At this stage, we could go along with Alain Bensoussan, a barrister at the Paris Appeal Court, when he says that "the time has come to create a robots law, giving them a legal personality and identity." Or, more sensibly perhaps, consider like economist Jean-Hervé Lorenzi that "robots will never replace humans".

Sources: Jean Vilanova, Institutional Relations Markets, La Médicale :Newsletter Professional Information February 2017,SRH Info (Unions of hospital radiologists) 4th quarter 2015

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