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    The Almost People: A framework proposal for the balancing of legal interests in the age of social robots.

    Ozturk, Anil (2022) The Almost People: A framework proposal for the balancing of legal interests in the age of social robots. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Robots, which were seen as gimmicks in science fiction stories until not so long ago, have already crossed into reality. Thanks to the ever-growing autonomy of robots and ever-expanding variety of roles assigned to them, they are becoming more integrated into the ordinary course of everyday life. With the advent of social robots that can engage human beings on personal levels, for the first time, non-human entities are emerging as social interaction partners. In that regard, from the legal perspective, it is no longer possible to treat them as mere tools. The autonomy of robots is expected to have significant impacts on various interests recognised by the legal principles that underlie existing legal instruments. However, almost none of the existing legal instruments were developed in consideration of the implications of robots' emerging roles as independent social actors. On explaining the inadequacy of existing legal instruments, I outline the prospect of a paradigm shift in the law's approach to human-robot social interactions. A comparative analysis of German, Italian, and Irish legal systems -selected to represent the EU's diverse legal families- demonstrates that robots' autonomous behaviours and emerging roles as social interaction partners are likely to undermine the legal principles expressed most notably in the domains of private law (contract law and tort law) and criminal law. The conceptual deconstruction of existing legal instruments offered by these domains reveals that legal systems overlook the characteristics of social robots that set them apart from other artefacts, namely, their relative autonomy and social agency. These distinctive characteristics allow robots to perform unpredictable behaviours and to prompt human beings they interact with to anthropomorphise them. Overlooking these characteristics diminishes the adequacy of existing legal instruments Ultimately, I conclude that the shortcomings of contemporary legal systems can be overcome by creating a new, unified legal framework that would enable the law to respond to the legal implications of robot autonomy and the phenomenon of robot anthropomorphism.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: The Almost People; framework proposal; legal interests; social robots;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Law
    Item ID: 17276
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2023 11:11
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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