AS Isaac Asimov stated: ‘Mankind is no longer alone’. In today’s world, we can see new kinds of technology emerging. A study by Statista has estimated that 4.6 billion people during 2021 have been using the Internet. This shows that almost half of the world’s population have been using technology. This article highlights the advantages and potential legal risks of robot cars and medical robots.
By definition, robot cars, or sometimes known as autonomous or driverless cars, are vehicles that are able to function without human involvement, by the use of its sensors. An example of this is Waymo, which began its project as Google’s self-driving car in 2009.
According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 1.35 million people die in a car accident per annum, globally. Hence, one of the reasons why robot cars are being produced is because it aims to reduce human deaths.
In addition, it is also believed that the use of robot cars can potentially reduce travel time and congestion. Nevertheless, robot cars can potentially raise various legal issues. One of which, is regarding liability. For instance, if a robot car hits a pedestrian, who will be liable? The car owner? The manufacturer? The issue of liability within robot cars has been a controversial topic and has been debated by many professionals, both in the legal field and non-legal field.
Furthermore, there are many other questions that might arise in regards to robot cars. For instance, when it comes to public law, will there be any use of a ‘driving licence’? When it comes to construction and environmental law, will there be specific roads built for Google cars or will all cars from different brands be able to use the same road? This could also lead to concerns regarding intellectual property.
Hence, we can see that even though robot cars can potentially reduce traffic and death rates, there are still various unanswered questions from the legal perspective.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have seen that medical departments have used medical robots vastly. In fact, Bahrain was very quick to introduce medical robots to help protect the medical staff from being exposed to Covid-19.
Using medical robots during a global pandemic could mean that there will be less physical contact of medical staff by Covid-19 patients, which could potentially reduce the number of Covid-19 cases in the kingdom, and also potentially reduce the pressure on medical staff. However, there are still legal risks that could arise in medical robots.
Precisely, regarding the protection of data. If a medical robot is able to identify a patient and show his or her medical record, this means that the medical robot can store a patient’s data in its system. This could be beneficial, as it could be easier to access the stored data. However, legal concerns do arise in regards to cyber attacks.
In order to avoid cyber attacks from happening to medical robots, which could later on harm the personal data of a patient, there must be a strong cybersecurity system.
This will disallow any potential attacks from hackers. Therefore, the concern of how to protect robots from cyber attacks is something that should be well-researched in order to avoid potential harm from the law of personal data.
To conclude, robots can be beneficial in many ways. They could help reduce traffic and death rates, and protect medical staff from contacting Covid-19 patients, besides other benefits. However, the main motive behind this article is to make everyone aware of both the benefits and the legal risks that could arise from robots, and how we, as humans, can prepare for this change.
Bahraini Zahraa Muradi is a final year law student at the University of Edinburgh.
During her time at university, she managed to specialise in the course ‘Robotics and the Law’, where she also became the class representative.
In addition, Zahraa is currently the Head Coordinator of University of Edinburgh’s LawTech student group. Her involvement in the field of law and technology made her passionate about the issues and benefits of LawTech.
This article focuses on the notion of law and technology and explores two kinds of robots – robot cars and medical robots – and examines the legal risks that might arise from them.
Nowadays, we have been hearing a lot about the use of technology in various sectors.
However, the legal risks of technology are unknown to many ...