7pm - 9pm
Tuesday 20 March 2018

The Reasonable Robot: Autonomous Machines and the Law

A technological revolution is underway, and it is going to be hugely disruptive.


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  • Dr Ian Kerr

Ever cheaper, faster, and more sophisticated machines are now able to do the work of people in a wide variety of fields and on an unprecedented scale. They may do this at a fraction of the cost of existing workers, and in some instances, they already outperform their human competition. Today’s machines are not limited to manual labour; modern computers are already diagnosing disease, practicing law, and creating artistic works. For better or worse, automation is the way of the future—the economics are simply too compelling for any other outcome.

Our speakers

Professor Ryan Abbott, Professor of Law and Health Sciences at the University of Surrey School of Law

Professor Abbott’s research is focused on the social impact of these technologies, and particularly on the legal implications of autonomous machines. His work seeks to answer questions such as: Can computers have rights? Who is responsible for a crime committed by a machine? Are killer robots more humane than conventional soldiers? Should computers pay taxes?

Dr Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology at the University of Ottawa.

Dr. Ian Kerr holds the Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law, and Technology at the University of Ottawa, where he has a unique four-way appointment in Law, Medicine, Philosophy, and Information Studies. His research interrogates legal and ethical issues surrounding the human-machine merger. Professor Kerr plays a leading role on the global stage in AI and robotics law and policy.


18:30 - Arrival

19:00 - Lecture starts

20:30 - Lecture finishes and guests are invited to join our speakers for a drinks reception in the Rik Medlik Foyer.