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Must machines into the prison? AI and the law


anyone Who violates another human being or kills, and can be held liable. An ancient principle of Law, that is, at least in principle, in all human societies.

However, the development and dissemination of artificial intelligence the judiciary in front of a Problem: In the future, there will be serious and fatal accidents, with no human perpetrator – caused by machines.

What is being discussed sounds like Science Fiction, in law and policy, as well as in industrial companies and insurance companies. Experts agree that the use of self-driving cars, intelligent industrial robots and other Autonomous trade will be machines in a few decades, as commonplace as electricity and telephone.

there are Still practical issues of the civil mainly to the right in the foreground, as a priority, with a view to wholly or partially self-driving cars.

“So highly and fully automated Driving company-wide-must always be aufklärbar, who bears the ultimate responsibility will be accepted”, says Joachim Müller, member of the Board of property insurance at Allianz Germany.

The road transport law is regulated since 2017, what data needs to store a car or is allowed to. “Not yet the question of how the law is Justified technically and organizationally to have access to this data is regulated, however,” says Müller.

“This question is for law-enforcement authorities and insurers in the same degree of interest,” says the Manager. “Here are a variety of questions arise: Must the data are read out for all Involved, time-consuming at the dealership? How is it ensured that incriminating data will not be destroyed? What happens to the data when a vehicle is scrapped, and anyone who deletes the data in the event of the sale of the vehicle?”

The Alliance makes pressure, not the manufacturer alone the authority over car should have the data: “in my view, the data must be in the hands of a neutral, independent third party – a data Trustee to provide, to all Eligible under the same legal conditions of access to these data”, demands Müller.

However, the rise of the machines affect the criminal law. Legal scholars have been discussing this very far-reaching questions. Because criminal law is based on the idea of individual guilt, but also the smartest machine has neither a consciousness nor a Conscience. “A criminal law that is targeted on individuals struggling with the development of Autonomous machines, and artificial intelligence to keep up,” says Susanne Beck, the owner of the criminal law chair at the University of Hannover.

“In the criminal law bears the one who operated a machine, usually the responsibility,” explains the Professor. “If Google tells me something wrong and my decision is based, I am responsible.”

In the civil law, the situation is simpler: “The holder of a motor Vehicle is wearing today is also the responsibility for accidents in which he was possibly not involved,” says Nicolas Woltmann, a researcher of the research centre for robot law at the University of Würzburg. “And, in civil law, a company may be liable.”

In criminal law is both not possible: “crimes can only commit to people, not legal entities, or machines,” says Woltmann. But the punishment of the people would be appropriate, if artificial intelligence at the wheel and steers? “It’s not just the sense of these machines that I operate itself and have to decide,” says Beck. “If I were the criminal law remain, however, as the driver is fully responsible, I need no Autonomous vehicle, because I need to concentrate, as if I controlled the vehicle itself. I think that is a problem.”

that is Why in ethics and law the discussion on the so-called “meaningful control” – in English “sensible” or “actual” control. “Before a person criminally responsible, you have to look closely, whether the person has ever exercised the control over the machine,” says Beck.

The result: “Probably, it will be in the future so that we will have to do without in the case of machinery accidents caused to a considerable extent on judgments,” says the legal scholar. “The concern a company, no penalties are possible.” Your proposal: “Then you don’t need to see, whether there are other solutions, such as Mediation or victim-offender mediation or solutions in other areas of law, such as the civil law.”

Of a fundamental Change in the criminal law, the majority of professionals do not hold a lot: “In the legal science is carefully begin to argue, whether we need to move away from the principle that only humans can behave in a culpable,” says Woltmann of the würzburg research centre for robot law. “For us, the opinion prevails, that there is in the present state of technical development, no need to throw the best legal position.”

There is, in fact, “a grey area, we can say in advance how the case law developed in the future,” says the lawyer. “For society as a whole is a grey area is perhaps acceptable if in the framework of the total social benefits with the increasing proliferation of Autonomous driving the number of accidents is falling.” But that would be no comfort for accident victims and their families: “At the individual level, but it is certainly not satisfactory, when, after a serious accident, criminal responsibility is not clarified. This is a Dilemma.”