The Law of Robots

Will robots replace lawyers? Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase and Professor at Georgetown University of Law Center answered this and talked about Artificial Intelligence and the Robot Revolution during BYU Law’s Future of Law lecture: “The Law of Robots.”

According to Walters, robots will not replace lawyers. “Will they replace legal work?” he posed. “Absolutely!”

Watch the 2-minute video to hear Walter’s take on how robots may increase the “human side” of the law.

The Industrial and Informational Revolutions are examples of when the law lagged behind the technological change and failed to meet the new changes of the time. “If we aren’t proactive, the same will occur for the Robotic Revolution,” Walters said.

The role of lawyers in the Robot Revolution

While the law lagged behind previous industry and information revolutions, it need not be behind in the Robot Revolution. To stay abreast of technology, we need to start thinking about the legal problems new machines bring, and how we can apply or create law to govern them.

  • How should negligence law come into play with accidents caused by self-driving cars?
  • What copyright protections, if any, should extend to a work created by a machine?
  • Can and do machines commit crimes?
  • If they do, how should they be punished?

These are only a few of the many interesting legal questions Walters posed that come with the expanding use of robots to do tasks that used to be done by humans.

Walters concluded by reminding students that while it seems futuristic, this is not a 2030 problem; it is a 2018 problem. Legal minds are and need to continue thinking about how we respond to these new legal challenges. Walters ended hopeful that a more proactive response from the law regarding technological changes will bring many beneficial advances to society.


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