Robots on Trial

This Boston Globe article poses interesting questions about the legal and moral responsibilities of robots (yes, robots).

In summary, does the legal system need to adapt to adjudicating cases where artificial intelligence-run machines make decisions based on their own reasoning, as opposed to faulty programming? (Think HAL in 2001.) Some are arguing that robots with full autonomy “can and should be held criminally liable” for their actions. It other words, malice or intent aren’t at issue, but the action itself.

The implications will resonate as electronics manufacturing migrates to robot-operated manufacturing.

HAL is watching us. Do we need to watch HAL?



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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow