Hence, there is a requirement that machines
be designed and constructed
in such a way that they will not be a risk to people. If we relate this
obligation to avoid or minimize risk to Par. 3 of the "Charter of
Fundamental Rights of the EU" (Right ot Freedom of Bodily Harm), we
need to ask if the integration of this protection into the design and
construction of machines should not be a requirement for other
fundamental rights, such as the protection of privacy (Par. 7) (3).
the paragraph on principles of
safety integration emphasises that appropriate information about
remaining risks must be named by the operating instructions, in
paragraph c. Then paragraph 1.7.4 of Appendix 1 determines that
machinery must be
accompanied by instructions in the official Community language or
languages of the Member State in which it is placed on the market
and/or put into service.
However, the obligations to
inform are not restricted to the operating instructions but also apply
to an appropriate design of the human-machine interface. Furthermore,
for machines being used by "non-professional operators" the "level of
general education" (126.96.36.199) must be taken into account.
to inform are also of essential importance in the
- Council Directive of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of
measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers
at work (89/391/EEC)
For example, the "provision of
information and training" is among the "general obligations on
employers" (Par. 6), described in more detail by Par. 20 (worker
information) and Par. 12 (training of workers).
The Directive 2006/42/EC, which highlights the
"level of general education" and the obligation to inform and
Directive 89/391/EEC show that dealing with robots outside the
workplace also requires an appropriate level of education. Although it
might still be valid that robots being highly complex machines cannot
be understood by the common citizen (Christaller et al. 2001, p. 147),
we must ask how education measures may help citizens with developing an
appropriate behaviour towards robots. Also, there mut be a demand that
robots supply people with the sufficient information to make,
i.e., their behaviour foreseeable. (Christaller et al. 2001, p. 145).
3.2 Responsibility for complex machines
Due to the complexity of robots
and software agents, there is the question of to whom the
responsibility for the consequences of the use of artificial agents
must be attributed. It is possible to take the responsibility for the
use of machines that are capable of learning?
The topic of being responsible for the development
and marketing of products must be taken seriously because of its
crucial role for the way professionals see themselves. This becomes
obvious when we look at the relevant "Codes of Ethics" of professional
An outstanding example of this is provided by the
"Code of Ethics" of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic
Engineers (IEEE) with 370,000 members in 160 countries. It starts with
We, the members of the IEEE, ...
do hereby commit ourselves to the highest ethical and professional
conduct and agree:
1. to accept responsibility
in making decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of
the public, ... (italics by the authors)
Another example is the "Code of
Ethics" of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), where in
Section 1, Paragraph 1, there is emphasizing:
When designing or implementing
systems, computing professionals must attempt to ensure that the
products of their efforts will be used in socially responsible ways, will
meet social needs, and will avoid harmful effects to health and
welfare. (italics by the authors)
Accordingly, the idea that in
the case of highly complex machines, such as robots, the responsibility
for the product can no longer be attributed to developers and
producers means a serious break of the way professionals define
Also, it is
not acceptable, in principle, that responsibility for the possible
misbehaviour of a machine should not
(at least partly) be attributed to developers or producers. However, it
may be claimed that from the point of view of most users a simple
webbot already seems to be an autonomous entity and hence may be held
accountable for morally illegitimate behaviour (Floridi/Sanders 2004).
The fact that something appears as an "autonomous object" in the eyes
of many people cannot be the basis for attributing the
responsibility for damage to the producers, provider, or user. In
practice it may be difficult to precisely attribute responsibility, and
we know of cases when attribution seems to be doubtful; but this is not
a justification for giving up on attributing responsibility,
particularly when faces with cases of dangerous and risky products.
More importantly, there is the question of in which way responsibility
is to be ascribed and to whom.
Here, we like to propose the option of
meta-regulation. If anybody or anything should suffer from damage this
is caused by a robot, which is capable of learning, there must be a
demand that the burden of adducing evidence must be with the robot's
keeper, who must prove her or his innocence (Christaller et al. 2001,
p. 149). For example, somebody may be considered innocent who acted
according to the producer's operating instructions. In this case the
producer would need to be held responsible for the damage.
Furthermore, developers and producers of robots
could accept their responsibility by contributing to analysing the
behaviour of a robot in a case of damage. This could happen by, for
instance, creating an appropriate self-control institution. For example
it may be possible to supply robots with a "black box", which could
then me checked by this institution.
In this context account must also be taken of the
damage being possibly caused indirectly by a robot. For example,
according to German law the keepers of dogs are also responsible for
road accidents if they do not act according to their obligatory
supervision to manage their dogs behaviour where it causes irritation
for road users. It is plausible to apply this analogously to the case
of robots. The reason for such irritating behaviour may, e.g., be
examined by an appropriate group of experts as mentioned above, and
this should be done particularly if despite the appropriate behaviour
of the user the robot could not be controlled to the degree necessary.
Christaller et al. (2001, p. 144) has questioned
whether the liability of animal keepers could be used as a model for
the liability of robot keepers. However, the national regulations
concerning dogs have become much more detailed and in the context of
our discussion they should definitely be taken into account.
Furthermore, the example of dogs indirectly causing
road accidents shows how important it is for citizens to know about
possible (mis) behaviour of robots, in order to enable them to react
appropriately to artificial entities.
3.3 Prospect: roboethics and
Future technologies are not only
a source of danger but may also contribute to preventing or reducing
risks. There is currently discussion on if and how ethical norms could
become part of self-control and steering capabilities of (future)
robots and software agents.
Unfortunately the subject is only partly discussed
and about very spectacular cases, such as the one cited by
Allen/Wallach/Smit (2006, 12) in their essay "Why Machine Ethics?"
A runaway trolley is approaching a fork in
the tracks. If the trolley runs on its current track, it will kill a
work crew of five. If the driver steers the train down the other
branch, the trolley will kill a lone worker. If you were driving the
trolley, what would you do? What would a computer or robot do?
However, this dramatic example
is not helpful for a discussion on "ethical regulations". There needs
to be a requirement that every possible step be taken to prevent the
situation described above. For example, the German constitutional court
declared that from 15 February 2006, Par. 14 Sect. 3 of the German Air
Security Act was a violation of the constitution. This paragraph was
supposed to allow us "to shoot down an airplane by immediate use of
weapons if it shall be used against the lives of humans" (1BvR 357/05).
The constitutional court said that this was not according to the Right
to Life (Par. 2. Basic Law): if "people on board are not involved in
the deed" (Christaller et al. 2001, p. 144).
This verdict is interesting for our context because
the constitutional court expressively refers to Section 1, Paragraph 1
of the German Basic Law ("Man's dignity is inviolable. Every state
power must respect and protect it"), which is topically equivalent to
Par. 1 of the "Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU", the reasons
for the judgement that the state must not question the human status of
crew and passengers. An authorization to shoot the airplane down
disregards those concerned, who are subjects of their own dignity and
own inalienable rights. By using their death as a means to save others
they are made objects and at the same time they are deprived of their
rights; by the state one-sidedly deciding about their lives the
passengers of the airplane, who, being victims, are themselves in need
of protection, are denied the value, which man has just by himself.
(1BvR 357/05, par. 124)
Likewise we may conclude that
there can be no legal regulation, which determines in principle that
the few may be made victims for the many of the trolley example (or
This does not mean that the potential for
self-control should no be used to oblige autonomous systems to
behaviour, which is in keeping with norms, especially if this serves
the safety of human beings. Even if one might intuitively agree with
the statement that grave decisions should only be made by humans, we
must not overlook that in legal practice this is not always seen to be
the case. As early as in 1975 and 1981 US courts decided that a pilot
who fails to resort to the auto-pilot in a crisis situation may be
considered to be acting negligently (Freitas 1985).
Thus, there is the question of how far regulations
may contribute to opening up a leeway for using the potential without
opening the door to over-hastily delegating responsibility to
artificial agents. Nevertheless, development of appropriate agents
needs further inter-disciplinary research work and this can and should
be supported by appropriate research policy insofar and as long as this
approach promises success. The possibility to use agents for enforcing
legal norms should not be judged uncritically in certain fields. If it
is advisable, however, to distinguish the legally conforming behaviour
of agents from the problem of an appropriate norm setting.
4 Machines as a replacement for humans
Although robots are being
discussed here as an extension of the human ability to act, robots can
also replace humans. This is often been seen as a major ethical issue,
but sometimes from the point of view of human rights, replacing human
by robots may be seen as a positive option. One prominent example of
this is the use of robots in the United Emirates and other countries as
jockeys for camel races, instead of children. This development was
positively emphasized, e.g., by the "Concluding observations: Qatar"
(4) of the "Committee of the Rights of the Child" of the United
In this case, replacing humans by robots served the goals of the
Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of
children, child prostitution and child pornography (2000), and thus the
- Convention on
the Rights of the Child (1989)
of the United Nations. Surely,
other cases can be imagined where child labour and trade can be avoided
by the use of robots. Furthermore robots can do work, which would not
be acceptable for human workers, e.g., because of health hazards.
stay with this example, not every kind of replacement would be
unproblematic, e.g., in the case of child prostitution, as Par. 1
- Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the
Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography
defines "child pornography" as
Child pornography means any
representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or
simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of sexual
parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes.
Thus, robots looking like
children and serving sexual purposes might definitely be included into
the prohibition of child pornography.
In general, it cannot be ruled out that also in the
future humans may lose their jobs due to the use of robots. We must
here think particularly of workers with a low level of qualification.
Given the fact, that his group of workers is already at a higher
unemployment risk than people with a higher level of qualification, we
should look carefully at what kind of jobs are going to be delegated to
Although there is also the opinion that the use of
industrial robots must be considered as an alternative to moving
production to foreign countries and that in so far it secures jobs in
the countries of production (5) this is only true from a restricted,
local point of view, which places more value on jobs in one's own
country than in other countries. The effects of the increasing use of
robots in the world of work (particularly in opening up new fields of
action for service robots) cannot be judged only by looking at those
countries where these robots are used. One must also ask about the
effects upon other countries.
In this context we consider that the work, which may
be delegated to agents is not of the kind where meaning is imparted by
humans. One may even argue that robots could take over most of the
inhumane work. However, we must be very careful with legitimating the
delegation of work to machines due to the inhumane nature of certain
kind of work. In this case, a "robotic divide" between rich and poor
countries would not only mean that in some countries certain tasks are
taken over by robots but that - according to his way of augmenting -
workers in other countries are expected to do inhumane work.
Those effects on other countries
must also be taken into account when talking about the possibilities of
tele-presence, which counts among the most remarkable extensions of
human possibilities of action.
Here, tele-presence means the possibility to act
within the world by help of agents, although the person who controls
the agent (direct tele-presence) or on whose behalf the agent
acts (indirect tele-presence) is not at the place concerned. The
reasons for a person not to be at the place may vary: e.g., the
environment in which the agent is acting may be hostile to life and not
accessible to humans. Examples for this are found in space travel or
deep sea research, but also in the fields of nuclear technology or war.
But tele-presence may also serve for making it possible for certain
humans to work at places where they themselves do not want to or cannot
be. here a wide spectre can be imagined, which includes both the
expert's tele-presence, whose skills and knowledge are made useful at a
far-away place, i.e., in the field of tele-medicine, and tele-work,
which is done at far-away places for low wages by help of High Tech.
For example, Brooks (2002) describes the possibility to create jobs in
countries with a low level of wages by help of appropriate service
robots. But tele-presence may also give rise to xenophobia if this
technology is used for staying away from people. Thus, we have to ask
of this will result in establishing societal developments and social
forms of exclusion, which are lamented elsewhere.
From the legal point of view, the possibility of
tele-presence is particularly challenging, as the human actor may be in
another country that the tool he uses accordingly, at the place where
the robot is used other legal regulations may be valid than at the
place where the control unit is. Also, e.g., in the field of
tele-medicine, it may be imagined that the use of the robot occurs in
another country whose laws allow operations, which are allowed neither
in the patient's nor in the physician's home country (Dickens/Cook
2006, pp. 74-75). This challenge was emphasized by the
- World Medical Association Statement on Accountability,
Responsibilities and Ethical Guidelines in the Practice of
Telemedicine. Adopted by the 51th World Medical Assembly Tel Aviv,
Israel, October 1999.
However, it was annulled at the
WMA General Assembly 2006 (Pilanesberg, South Africa). According to
information by the WMA, a new version of the guideline may be expected
this year. Paragraph (3) of the old "statement" says:
World Medical Association recognizes that, in addition to the positive
consequences of telemedicine, there are may ethical and legal issues
arising from these new practices. Notably, by eliminating a common site
and face-to-face consultation, telemedicine disrupts some of the
traditional principles, which govern the physical-patient relationship.
Therefore, there are certain ethical guidelines and principles that
must be followed by physicians involved in telemedicine.
It becomes obvious that the
"Codes of Ethics" of international professional associations must be
taken into account for the field of "ethical regulations", even if the
formulation of "certain ethical guidelines and principles" in this
document are considered vague. According to the
- World Medical Association International Code of Medical
passed for the first time in
1949 and newly accepted in 2006, the WMA is provided with a basis for
developing appropriate guidelines. According to Dickens/Cook (2006, p.
77), the WMA in its statement from 1999 emphasizes that
regardless of the telemedicine system under which the physical is
operating, the principles of medial ethics globally binding upon the
medical profession must never be compromised. These include such
matters as ensuring confidentiality, reliability of equipment, the
offering of opinions only when possessing necessary information, and
It cannot be expected that in
this respect the new version will be different. Dickes/Cook (2006, p.
77) also point to the risk "that these technologies may aggravate
migration of medical specialists from low-resource areas, by affording
them means to serve the countries or areas they leave, by electronic
and robotic technologies". The possibilities of tele-presence must me
judged also with their effect on (potential) brain drain.
Of course, this challenge does not only exist in the
field of medicine. But the challenges posed by tele-presence in the
field of medicine are an appropriate topic for discussion here as the
possibilities it opens up are judged positively. Hence, possible
conflicts are addressed much more clearly than in the case of a
possible use, which is anyway seen with reservation. Here, Dickens and
Cook (2006, pp. 74, 78) give the examples of "procedures that terminate
pregnancy", "methods of medically assisted reproduction ... such as
preimplantation genetic diagnosis and using sex-selection techniques"
as well as "female genital cutting", which is respect of the
possibility of tele-presence may at least cause legal doubts. Again
these special examples can be generalized. It may be questioned whether
in a company, which is located in the EU, an EU citizen is allowed to
control a robot in a country whose security demands are not appropriate
to European standards of occupational safety, or if by using a robot a
European researcher is allowed to carry out experiments outside the EU,
which are not allowed within the EU.
Another question is that it must be obvious for
third parties to know if an agent is tele-operated. And there is the
general requirement that humans having contact with machines should
know, which behaviour is to be expected from them. Further, it must be
made clear which information the agent of the provider must offer. Is
it sufficient to know that control is (partly) taken over by a human?
Or must additional information be offered, such as the country from
where the machine is controlled? The latter is relevant in respect of
valid regulations of data protection.
Even if cross-border data travel is not taken
into account, particularly in the case of direct tele-presence, i.e.,
when an agent is under the direct control of a human or a group of
humans, there are obvious challenges with regard to the possibility of
far-reaching interventions into the protected zone of the private.
6 Special fields of application
"Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU" can be used for judging
legally on the purpose of robots. It is of decisive importance if a
possible use may be considered an intervention into the fundamental
rights. In the fields of memdicine, armed forces, and entertainment the
use of robots shall be examined.
6.1 Medicine and healthcare
In general, for the use of
robots in the field of the aforementioned
- Council Directive 93/42/EEC of 14 June 1993 concerning
medical devices is of essential significance, and according to Par. 1
Section 5 must not be applied on
- Active implantable devices covered by Council Directive
of 20 June 1990 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States
relating to active implantable medical devices (90/385/EEC);
is currently discussion on how far the existing directives on "medical
devices" must be worked over and adjusted to each other. (6) At the
time of writing this article the result of this debate was still open.
Baxter et al. (2004, p. 250) point to the fact that
in respect of
defining "medical devices" Directive 93/42/EEC is vague: "... one can
claim that if the technology is sometimes used by people without
disease, injury or handicap then it is not primarily intended for
'diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment or alleviation' of those
afflictions and so the regulation does not apply". This, they say, is
problematic as keeping the standards for "medical devices" is connected
to high costs. Thus, companies were tempted to avoid existing
regulations by using machines, which were developed for other purposes.
But there were not always appropriate to the needs of those persons who
are supposed to be helped by these machines. This might be of concern,
for example, with regard to the use of service robots in the field of
In general, the extension of human possibilities to
medicine and nursing must surely be judged positively. From the point
of view of surgery, Diodat et al. (2004, p. 802) conclude:
introduction of robotics technology into the operating room has the
potential to transform our profession. For the first time in history,
surgeons will not be confined by their inherent physical limitations.
These systems have the potential not only to improve the performance of
traditional surgery, but also to open entirely new realms of technical
achievement previously impossible.
to Directive 2006/42/EC, Directive 93/42/EEC names extensive
obligations to inform (particularly Annex I, Par. 13). Diodato et al.
(2004, p. 804) must be taken very seriously when pointing out the fact
that due to the increasing use of robots
surgeons will need to become lifelong learners, since there will be
almost continuous evolution of our surgical techniques as our technical
ability becomes more coupled to increasing computer power. As surgeons
it will be our duty to direct this progress in close partnership with
engineers, computer scientists, and industry to advance the surgical
treatment of diseases. Most important, we must provide ethical and
moral direction to the application of this technology to enhance both
the art and the science of our profession.
not only is the physicians' self-obligation to the ethos of their
profession addressed but also there is a demand for close co-operation
between developers and users.
In the field of medicine there is a particular
obligation to inform
the patient. The expert's report by Schräder (2004, p. 59) on the
assessment of methods by the example of Robodoc®
is of special interest here because patients took legal action against
the use of the robot in Germany after it had become known that such an
operation was more risky. Even when action for compensation was finally
rejected by the Federal Supreme Court of Justice (Germany) on 13
2006, (VI ZR 323/04), the court pointed to "lack of information".
In our opinion, challenges occur must of all where
become dependent on the machine (even physicians, nurses, or the
patient of the nursed person may be concerned) as well as where the
machine replaces a human. Thus, in respect of the "Charter of
Fundamental Righs" it should be questioned if replacing human nurses by
machines can be justified where the contact with nurses is one of the
last possibilities left for someone who is old and/or ill to interact
and communicate with other humans. Here, according to Par. 26
(Integration of disabled people) there might be the requirement that
nursing by machines needs special justification. Also, one can ask if
companies and perhaps the state might have a special obligation to
support users with maintenance.
Finally we must ask how to deal with the fact that in the context of
using artificial entities for the nursing of old-aged people there is
the possibility of violating the right to respect for privacy and
family life (Par. 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights).
25 emphasizes the right of old-aged people to a life of dignity, which
indeed includes the right to privacy (Par. 7) There are analogous
regulations concerning children (Par. 24) and disabled people (Par.
26). The latter demand for "respect of privacy" is also emphasized at
the international level in Par. 22 of the United Nations'
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Adopted on 13 December 2006 during the 61th session of the General
Assembly by resolution A/RES/61/106. (A/RES/61/106).
6.2 Armed forces
to Par. 1 Section 2, Directive 2006/42/EC is not valid for "weapons,
including firearms" as well as "machinery specially designed and
constructed for military or police purposes". Seemingly, a common
regulation following the above mentioned directive, does not exist at
the European Level.
However, robots are included in the "Common Military
List of the
European Union" (2007/197/CFSP), which serves for export control in the
context of the
- European Union Code of Conduct on Arms Exports (1988
member states are obliged not to allow any export, which violates the
criteria of this code, which includes "respect of human rights in the
country of final destination" (Criterion 2):
assessed the recipient country's attitude towards relevant principles
established by international human rights instruments, Member States
a. Not issue an export licence if there is a clear risk that the
proposed export might be used for internal repression.
b. Exercise special caution and vigilance in issuing licences, on a
case-by-case basis and taking into account of the nature of the
equipment, to countries where serious violations of human rights have
been established by the competent bodies of the UN, the Council of
Europe or by the EU;
"specially designed for military use" are explicitly included into this
Robots, which are able to kill or hurt humans have
attention, as shown by the example of armed surveillance robots, which
are supposed to be used by Southern Korea at the border with Northern
Korea. In this context German comments reminded about the so called
"auto-fire systems", which were used at the border of the German
Democratic Republic. The German Federal Supreme Court of Justice has
repeatedly criticized these "blind killing automats" for being a grave
violation of human rights (e.g., the verdict from 26 April 2001 - AZ 4
StR 30/01). However, from the legal point of view two aspects must be
taken into account:
Different from the so called "auto-fire systems" of Type SM-70,
today's systems are not "blind". And one might argue that the new
technologies are even more able to fulfil these tasks than humans.
2. From the technological point of view, the SM-70 was an
"Anti-Personnel" and not a complex machine. The SM-70 and comparable
technologies do thus count amontg the topical field of the
- United Nations convention on prohibitions or
restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons, which may be
deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects
- Protocol on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of
mines, booby-traps and other devices as amended on 3 May 1996
(Protocol II to the 1980 Convention as amended on 3 May 1996), as well
- Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling,
production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their
destruction, 18 September 1997.
clarification is needed about whether robots count among the topical
field of these conventions.
Another challenge for export control exists in the
"dual-use". This is the possibility to use civil technologies for the
purpose of war. Robots being developed for military purposes, however,
may also be considered an example of "bi-directional dual-use". Here
there exists a challenge, e.g., regarding the question of if and
machines, which were developed for military purposes are to be
regulated and used for Policy purposes. This challenge is even bigger
these days particularly in the context of foreign missions where armed
forces often take over Police tasks (e.g., riot control).
Finally, there is a general challenge regarding the
question of how
we shall deal with documents, which are produced by using robots or
could be produced this way. The challenge of their use in war but also
in Police and rescue actions is how we shall deal with those video and
audio recordings as well as further data which are recorded by
artificial agents at the place or – in
the case of tele-presence – at
the control unit. On the one hand, these data open up the possibility
of control, e.g., if regulations of international law are kept. On the
other hand, new possibilities of manipulation are opened up that could
undermine this control. Additionally, we must take into account that in
case of a conflict between two warring parties between which there is a
"robotic divide" there may develop a kind of media or informational
superiority on the side, which is provided with the appropriate
have already raised the fact raised by the problem of child
pornography that the use of robots in certain fields of "entertainment"
may be judged critically. However, concerning this there is no common
legal practice within the European Union, whereas in Germany the
- Innerstate Treaty on the Protection of Human Dignity and
Youth Protection in Radio and Television Media from 10-27 September
2002, last version by the Eighth Interstate Treaty on Changes of the
Broadcasting System from 8/15 October 2004 expressively equates virtual
depictions with real pictures, and in Italy by the
- Provisions on the fight against sexual exploitation of
children and on child pornography on the internet (6 February 2006)
pornography" is also punished. The legal situation in other member
states does not seem to be as clear, for example, in the Netherlands
there is an attempt to create certainty of justice by help of an
exemplary case (Reuters, agency report from 21 February 2007).
The example of "virtual child pornography" in online
offers such as
"Second Life" shows that similar regulations must be expected also for
humanoid robots if they, being media products, are not included into
the appropriate laws. In general, we must assume that humanoid robots,
as far as they represent specific individuals, are not allowed to
violate the personal rights of those depicted, and that as far as no
personal rights are at stake they are allowed to be produced and used
only within the frame of valid laws. Concerning this, Par. 1 of the
Charter of Fundamental Rights (Human Dignity) may be supposed to be a
point of reference, as it can be found, e.g., in the
it is important to point out that in respect of robots in the field of
"entertainment" there already exist those challenges as mentioned in
the section on "Tele-presence". For example, in Germany selling the
"Teddycam" (7) was prohibited, and a combination of covered
surveillance technology with an object of daily use is not allowed
according to the German Act on Telecommunication.
- Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 20 December 2006 on the protection of minors and human
dignity and on the right of reply in relation to the competitiveness of
the European audiovisual and on-line information services industry
However, we must emphasize that we do not intend to
impression that the use of robots for entertainment purposes should be
restricted more that other entertainment products. However, in the
context of this article, which aims at presenting the status quo, there
is a need to point out existing regulations. Indeed, example of the
robot jockey has already been mentioned and this is useful in
considering the use of artificial agents in this field.
this paper we have presented some of the existing regulations, which
might be applied on robotic agents. By starting with the "Charter of
Fundamental Rights of the European Union" we pointed out the fact that
the term "human dignity" in the context of the Charter of Fundamental
Rights of the European Union makes it improbable that accepting robots
as "artificial humans" or software agents as "artificial individuals"
will happen without considerable resistance. Thus, we chose a human
In particular, we addressed the challenges that come
tele-presence. Here, we made the point that the effects of the
increasing use of robots in the world of work cannot be judged only by
looking at those countries where these robots are used. There must also
be questioning about the effects on other countries (brain drain, loss
of jobs, etc.) and the relationship between countries that might be
affected by what we call the "robotic divide".
Finally, we took a look at some fields of use,
and healthcare, warfare applications, and entertainment, where we found
a broad range of regulations as well as open questions.
It is important to bear in mind that his paper is
about the status
quo and there is indeed a question about whether the existing
regulations are restricting possible developments too much. For that
reasons we proposed the option of meta-regulation. This is to establish
a body of self-control for developers and producers whereby a fixed
legal framework may decide by itself which steps must be made to make a
responsible development possible.
1. Commission Recommendation
from 11 March 2005 on the European Charter for Researchers and on a
Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
2. The "Charter for Researchers"
has meanwhile been signed by more than 70 institutions from 18 nations
(Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece,
Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania,
Slovak Republic, Spain, and Switzerland) as well as by the
3. Software agents, i.e., may
support users with purposefully releasing or hiding information. Beyond
this, Allen/Wallach/Smith (2006) suggested to develop agents being able
to recognize private situations and to react appropriately. There may
also be reminding to the suggestion by Rosen (2004) to build "blob
machines" instead of "naked machines". Such thoughts are also found,
e.g. in around the "Semantic Web", where in the context of the
"Platform for Privacy Preferences" (P3P) Project (www.w3.org/P3P)
there is trying to describe the collecting and use of data in a way
which could be read by machines and to this way control the flow of
these data. In a general sense, also developments towards the
"Policy-Aware Web" (Kolovski et al. 2005) must be taken into account
here. However, together with Borking (2006) we must, e.g., state:
"Building privacy rules set down in the Directive 95/46/EC and
2002/58/EC into information systems for protecting personal data poses
a great challenge for the architects."
4. Consideration of Reports
submitted by States Parties under Article 12 (1) of the optional
Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of
Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
(CRC/C/OPSC/QAT/CO/1) (2 June 2006).
5. See the statements by
Jean-Francois Germain (Ichbiah 2005, p. 247).
6. Proposal for a Directive of
the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directives
90/385/EEC and 93/42/EEC and Directive 98/8/EC of the European
Parliament and the Council as regards the review of the medical device
Allen C, Wallach W, Smit I (2006)
Why machine ethics? In: IEEE Intelligent Systems, July/August 2006, pp.
Baxter GD, Monk AF, Doughty K, Blythe M, Gewsbury G (2004) Standards
and the dependability of electronic assistive technology. In Keatas S,
Clarkson J, Langdon P, Robinson P (eds) Designing a more inclusive
world. Springer, London, pp. 247-256
Borking J (2006) Privacy rules - a steeple case for system architects.
negotiation and semantics-driven enforcement, 17 and 18 October 2006,
Brooks R (2001) Flesh and machines. In Peter J. Denning HG (eds) The
invisible future. McGraw-Hill, New York, pp. 53-63
Brooks R (2002) Flesh and machines. Pantheon, New York
Christaller T. Decker M, Gilsbach JM, Hirzinger G, Lauterbach KW,
Schweighofer E, Schweitzer G, Sturma D (2001) Robotik. Perspektiven
menschlichen Handeln in der zukünftigen Gesellschaft. Springer,
Dickens BM, Book RJ (2006) Legal and ethical issues in telemedicine and
robotics. Int J Bynecol Obstet 94:73-78
Diodato MD, Prosad SM, Klingensmith ME, Damiano RJ (2004) Robotics in
surgery. Curr probl surg 41(9):752-810
Floridi L, Sanders JW (2004) On the morality of artificial agents.
Minds Mach 14(3):349-379
Freitas RA (1985) The legal rights of robots. In: Student lawyer 13
(Jan 1985), pp. 54-56. Web version: http://www.rfreitas.com/Astro/LegalRightsOfRobots.htm
Ichbiah D (2005) Roboter. Geschichte - Technik - Entwicklung.
Kolovski V, James Hendler YJ, Tim Berners-Lee DW (2005) Towards a
Levy D (2006) Robots unlimited. A.K. Peters, MA
Rengeling RW, Szczekalla P (2004)
Grundrechte in der Europäischen Union. Charta der Grundrechte und
Allgemeine Rechtsgrundsätze. Heymanns, Cologne
Rosen J (2004) The naked crowd. Random House, New York
Schräder P (2004) Roboterunterstüzte Fräsverfahren am
coxalen Femur bei Hüftgelenkstotalendoprothesenimplantation.
Methodenbewertung am Beispiel "Robodoc®", http://informed.mds-ev.de/
update: April 23, 2017