Q&A: Robots and the law

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Science  10 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6206, pp. 195
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6206.195

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Should driverless cars be allowed on the roads? Should robots capable of thought be accorded rights as sentient beings? Ryan Calo, a lawyer at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, tackles these and other questions in "Robots and the Lessons of Cyberlaw," a paper that will appear in the California Law Review next spring. Science caught up with Calo recently on the murky questions surrounding robo rights and responsibilities. Among other things, Calo argues that robots tend to undermine the clean distinction between a thing and a person, but he doesn't think society will create "stand-alone rights" for robots.