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Course content

This course addresses emerging regulatory issues related to robotics. The point of departure of the course is the increasing significance robots have in our society, which not only raises technical issues, but also regulatory and policy concerns.

Recent advances in robotics and artificial intelligence indicate that robots gradually become a reality in society, rather than just in science fiction. Applications include autonomous cars and other vehicles, autonomous weapons, as well as assistants in many fields, including healthcare. Thus, the forms and purposes of robots differ, so it may be impossible to develop one singular regulatory response to the broad field of robotics. On the other hand, there are certain recurring features of robots, which are relevant in a regulatory context.

Lawmakers are currently developing new concepts and definitions, concurrent with the potential drafting of a new legal framework. One of these attempts is the European Parliament’s working definition of a “smart robot”: Its characteristics include (i) the acquisition of autonomy through sensors or data exchange, (ii) potentially self-learning, (iii) at least a minor physical support, (iv) the adaptation of its behaviour and actions to the environment, as well as (v) absence of life in the biological sense.
The role of Artificial intelligence (AI) in robotics warrants specific scrutiny. Whether or not embodied in a physical robot, AI is increasingly deployed in a wide range of contexts. These include predictive policing, chatbots, and corporate decision-making. Amongst the challenges with AI has been the potential for bias in decision-making, which can contribute to discrimination, including for gender or race.

The analysis of regulatory issues takes particular account of ethical and gender perspectives. Ethical concerns arise, for example, when robots such as autonomous weapons or vehicles decide about life or death, and when they calculate risk. Moreover, ethical issues are crucial for all human-robot interaction, such as in the context of healthcare robots.
When humans and robots interact, there can be issues with respect to both human gender and robot gender. The clearest example of the latter is the development of sex robots.

This course examines how robots and artificial are regulated de lege lata, and tracks the discourse about the need for new law (de lege ferenda). It is far from clear how society should respond to the emergence of these technologies, and students should think creatively about these questions. The course also tracks the development of soft law, such as codes of conduct for robot engineers.

Relevant legal and regulatory issues include the following:

  • Responsibility, accountability, liability and insurance
  • Regulatory oversight by the proposed European Agency for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
  • Regulatory frameworks for safety, security, and privacy
  • Robots and networks (network neutrality; cloud computing)
  • Autonomous weapons systems and public international Law
  • Human dignity, gender issues and privacy in the context of healthcare robots, cyborgs and augmented humans
  • Regulatory responses to emerging artificial intelligence


Learning outcome


  • Overview of key regulatory issues raised by emerging developments in robotics, including autonomous vehicles, autonomous weapons, human-robot interaction, and cyborgs.
  • Overview of how the law regulates robots and cyber-physical systems with respect to safety and regulatory oversight, liability, privacy and security.
  • Overview of regulatory issues raised by artificial intelligence, including discrimination, transparency, privacy, and use for law enforcement.
  • Good knowledge of a specific sub-set of regulatory issues in a focus area relevant for the respective student’s term paper.


  • Ability to discuss regulatory issues in light of ethical, gender and technical perspectives in robotics.
  • Ability to reflect over the need for regulation of robotics and artificial intelligence.

General competence

  • Understanding how the emergence of robotics may affect society, including in sectors such as transport, health, employment, and public security.

  • Understanding of weaknesses and strengths of regulation, and its effect on innovation.

  • Development of oral presentation skills.



Students who are admitted to study programmes or individual courses at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for by registering a study plan in StudentWeb.

International applicants, if you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures for international applicants.

Nordic applicants that are accepted to study programmes or individual courses at UiO can be admitted to this course.


Recommended previous knowledge

Please note that lectures and curriculum for this course is aimed at students at master degree level.

However, the achievement requirements are adjusted for students who take the subject at bachelor degree Level.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with JUS5690 – Robot Regulation


Lectures/seminars, 22 hours.

Compulsory activity: Mandatory participation in working group. The group prepares an oral presentation, which forms the basis for a short film (20-30 minutes). All students must submit a short report (up to 1 page) describing how they contributed to group work done in this course. This report must be added to the individual term paper, but it is not graded.

Language of teaching for this course is English. This means that all communication during lectures/seminars will be in English, and all literature and auxiliary materials are in English.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


  • Individual term paper (2000 words) 

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Marking criteria 

This  guide is used by examiners for grading elective courses at the Faculty of Law.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take this exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

There are special rules for resitting a passed examination in the master's programme in Law.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.


The language for this course is English. Students enrolled in the Masterprogrammet i rettsvitenskap must pass one English subject as part of their degree, this course will meet these obligations.

This subject is taught at Bachelor's level. The subject is also taught at Master's level (10 ECTS credits), see JUS5690 – Robot Regulation

Please see the chapter above, regarding overlap. For instances of overlap, credits will be deducted on the subject at Bachelors's Level.

Facts about this course






This course is discontinued. Students who wish to take a retake of this course have a last opportunity autumn 2019. 


This course is discontinued. Students who wish to take a retake of this course have a last opportunity autumn 2019. 

Teaching language