JUS5690 – Robot Regulation

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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 intelligence 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
  • Artificial intelligence and copyright protection

Admission

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

You may register for this course if you have admission to a Master of Law-programme at UiO, the faculty's exchange-programme or have admission to Law-electives at masters-level. All applicants must fill the formal prerequisites.

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

Prerequisites

Formal prerequisite knowledge

Students must fill one of these requirements:

  • Passed 1st - 3rd year of the 5-years degree Master of Laws (Master i rettsvitenskap at UiO) (or exams that qualify for exemption for these) or
  • Hold a 5-years Master’s degree in Laws (Master i rettsvitenskap at UiO) or equivalent.

Exemptions from the formal prerequisites will be given to students with admission to the faculty's own exchange or master’s degree programmes. This rule does not apply to students with admission to other master’s degree programmes at the University of Oslo, unless otherwise agreed.

Recommended previous knowledge

Three years of law studies. In addition, it is recommended that students have a general understanding of information and communications technology (ICT) law. It is recommended that students combine this course with other courses focusing on ICT Law.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with include:ref: null

Teaching

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. Each student must also submit three questions that would be suitable for the oral examination.

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.

Examination

  • Individual short paper (2000 words) – counting 30 %
  • Short film created in a group - counting 40 % 
  • Oral exam in a group, based on the short film. Individual questions/discussions with each of the group members, you receive individual marks  -  counting 30 %.

Also note that you have to pass the Compulsory Activity to be able to deliver the short paper and participate in the oral exam.  

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.

Evaluation

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

Other

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 Master 's level. The subject is also taught at Bachelor's level (10 ECTS credits), see JUR1690 – 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

Credits

10

Level

Master

Teaching

Every autumn

Examination

Every autumn

Teaching language

English