Minds and Machines

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 625–638 | Cite as

When Morals Ain’t Enough: Robots, Ethics, and the Rules of the Law

  • Ugo PagalloEmail author


No single moral theory can instruct us as to whether and to what extent we are confronted with legal loopholes, e.g. whether or not new legal rules should be added to the system in the criminal law field. This question on the primary rules of the law appears crucial for today’s debate on roboethics and still, goes beyond the expertise of robo-ethicists. On the other hand, attention should be drawn to the secondary rules of the law: The unpredictability of robotic behaviour and the lack of data on the probability of events, their consequences and costs, make hard to determine the levels of risk and hence, the amount of insurance premiums and other mechanisms on which new forms of accountability for the behaviour of robots may hinge. By following Japanese thinking, the aim is to show why legally de-regulated, or special, zones for robotics, i.e. the secondary rules of the system, pave the way to understand what kind of primary rules we may want for our robots.


AI Moral theory Robotics Secondary rule Special zone 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law SchoolUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

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