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How Do You Make Laws For Killer Robots?

Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov came up with three laws of robotics: a robot may not harm a human, a robot must obey humans and a robot must protect its own existence.

The Washington State Senate thinks even more regulating laws are necessary. On Wednesday senators voted unanimously to outlaw ticket bot computer software that buys up to 40 percent of the tickets for a concert before the public gets a stab at them. This is only the latest effort to regulate robots and robotic software.

This weekend, the University of Washington is hosting We Robot 2015 – a conference that looks at the growing area of robot law.

The conference was organized by UW professor Ryan Calo. He said there’s a role for regulation of robot use in politics to influence elections or deceptive robots used for defrauding people.

“Imagine an artificial intelligent girlfriend that was really just everything you ever wanted and knew everything you thought you wanted, but one of the things it helps you to do is purchase only from the clients of the company that made it,” Calo said.

The conference will also consider international treaties to outlaw robots that make kill decisions on their own.

“And the key phrase is that humans always need to maintain meaningful control,” Calo said. “But there's a lot of definitional problems.”

Calo stresses that these issues need to be dealt with now. “It's an interesting dialogue between technologists who are showing us what's possible and lawyers who are trying to bridge gaps that are created in law.”