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Robot Law: A Global Perspective
First of a four-part series on how world regulators are bringing legislative and regulatory guidance to the robotics industry
By Emmet Cole



In the first of a four-part series to launch Robots and the Law, Robotics Business Review spoke to experts from around the world to find out just how prepared policy makers and regulators in five different countries/regions are to bringing legislative and regulatory guidance to the industry.


The ISO develops safety standards for robots—including the forward-looking ISO 13482, which defines safety standards for robots used in personal care—but there is little they can do to enforce their standards without governmental support. And there’s only so much the robotics industry can do to self-regulate.

Robot holding

So, the baton passes to policy makers, legislators, and regulators, who then face the challenge of getting the right balance between the competing goals of protecting end-users from harm and protecting innovation.

While legislators and regulators are becoming more aware of the potential economic impact of robotics technologies on society, they are still coming to terms with the unique ethical and legal challenges that emerge when intelligent machines and humans occupy the same environments.

So, what efforts are being made to put some shape on robot regulation and legislation globally?

In the first of a four-part series to launch Robots and the Law, Robotics Business Review spoke to experts from around the world to find out just how prepared policy makers and regulators in five different countries/regions are to bringing legislative and regulatory guidance to the industry.

We’ve also ranked each region/country from 5th to 1st place, according to the extent of their existing robotics-related regulatory and legislative frameworks, how advanced the discussion is around these topics, and each country/region’s prospects for successfully legislating and regulating robotics into the future.

Get an in-depth look at the course of action that each of these five world leaders is taking:

  1. 5.China : The lack of interest in robot-related legislation and regulation in China is a problem that must be urgently addressed.
  2. 4.United States: The United States is one of the few countries to enact robot-specific laws and regulations.
  3. 3.European Union: RoboLaw is a $1.9 million European Commission-funded project designed to prepare the way for the creation of legal and ethical guidelines.
  4. 2.South Korea: The Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) is the official body responsible for overseeing legislation and regulation regarding robotics.
  5. 1.Japan: Ethical and emotional barriers against new robots are not high in Japan, but people demand a high level of safety for those new technologies.

See related: Robots and the Law: Introduction Humankind’s new tool: who gets the blame when one screws up?

Do you think governments and regulators in your country are doing enough to provide governance for robotic technology? Know of other legistlative and regulatory initiatives that you would like to see included in future coverage? Email us: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 


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About the author

Emmet Cole has been writing about robots since 2006. Formerly Wired UK's robotics expert, Emmet's bylines include Wired News, The Economist, BBC Future, and Robotics Trends. He is particularly interested in commercialization of research and in the ethical, legal, and regulatory implications of emerging robotic and cyborg technology. Twitter: @emmetcole

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