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We, the Robots?
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Book description

Should we regulate artificial intelligence? Can we? From self-driving cars and high-speed trading to algorithmic decision-making, the way we live, work, and play is increasingly dependent on AI systems that operate with diminishing human intervention. These fast, autonomous, and opaque machines offer great benefits – and pose significant risks. This book examines how our laws are dealing with AI, as well as what additional rules and institutions are needed – including the role that AI might play in regulating itself. Drawing on diverse technologies and examples from around the world, the book offers lessons on how to manage risk, draw red lines, and preserve the legitimacy of public authority. Though the prospect of AI pushing beyond the limits of the law may seem remote, these measures are useful now – and will be essential if it ever does.


‘Current debates and institutional initiatives on how the law should govern technological innovation, such as AI and robotics, should not overlook limits and constraints of such regulatory legal efforts. We, the Robots? provides an insightful analysis both ways – a reference book in the field of the law and AI.'

Ugo Pagallo - University of Turin

‘Professor Chesterman's We, the Robots? is a hugely important addition to the growing body of literature on the regulation of AI. Drawing on the author's rich knowledge of international institutions, the book offers many novel observations on the challenges of AI and how they can be addressed. The chapter on Regulation by AI is particularly impressive in its combination of ground-breaking legal theory and technical insight. The writing throughout is erudite, clear, and methodical. This is a book which deserves to be widely read.'

Jacob Turner - author of Robot Rules: Regulating Artificial Intelligence

‘An accessible introduction to some of the most important legal questions raised by artificial intelligence, and solutions implemented or explored across a broad range of jurisdictions. The book explains how the speed, autonomy, and opacity of artificial intelligence systems combine to raise questions around responsibility, personality, and transparency, analysing proposals from technology-specific regulation to a new international agency, with a brief introduction to the (potential) role of such systems in legal interpretation, prediction, and decision-making.'

Lyria Bennett Moses - Professor, UNSW Sydney

‘Chesterman's We, the Robots? is a nuanced and thoughtful perspective on several important themes in the regulation of artificial intelligence. Chesterman compellingly synthesizes a wide range of global perspectives here, including proposals to shape AI via law, and the difficulties of replacing law itself with automated systems. Dialectically comparing the strengths of law and AI as systems of social coordination and control, We, the Robots? offers wise counsel to lawyers and policymakers on the regulation of algorithmic decision-making systems.'

Frank Pasquale - author of New Laws of Robotics and Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School

‘… [A] surprisingly lively examination of AI regulation.’

Sue Halpern Source: New York Review of Books

‘Chesterman ... brings a sober but readable approach to a subject otherwise much given to speculation and fearmongering.’

Peter Neville-Hadley Source: The South China Morning Post Magazine

‘… a comprehensive and engaging read for anyone interested in better understanding AI, its impact on our legal landscape, and some of the thorniest new issues confronting regulators today.’

Xueyin Zha Source: The Interpreter

'One of the book’s many virtues is the clarity with which it frames the challenges in question. There is a tendency, as Chesterman notes, to anthropomorphise 'intelligent' machines, attributing to them a degree of agency or even sentience that is not (yet) warranted. … [T]he book does a superb job of mapping and organising key issues in the regulation of AI. But it is more than a synthesising exercise. What Chesterman propounds is a typology of automated decisions, with different ethical and legal requirements applying to each category in the typology.’

Source: Australian Review of Books

‘I would recommend this book without hesitation to policymakers dealing with AI. The book is wonderfully rich in content. The author has been able to weave together issues of law, ethical principles, philosophy, and pieces of history, to present a coherent and intriguing point of view. What I liked in addition was that the book included in its discussion, China’s approach to AI regulation.’

Darren Grayson Chng Source: Society for Computers and Law

‘… a most interesting, concise and precise work, worth reading by anyone interested in the regulation of AI and the limitations of the law in achieving that end. The book makes a very valuable contribution to scholarship in an area of increasing importance for legal regulation domestically and internationally.’

Zhiqiong June Wang Source: Law in Context

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  • 1 - Speed
    pp 15-30


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