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Legal, Policy and Ethical Implications of Robotics and Automation

It was a privilege to be invited by Edith Cowan University (ECU), along with The Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC, The Hon. Bill Johnston MLA, and Dr Martin Allcock, to be on the panel at ECU’s annual Law Assembly at the beginning of November 2022.  

L-R: Assoc Prof Joshua Aston, Dr Martin Allcock, Me, Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC & Hon Bill Johnston MLA – posing with the Stratocumulus Red Robot.

The topic was “Legal, Policy and Ethical Implications of Robotics and Automation”, and which we explored the exciting opportunities and potential challenges posed by the increased use of automated decision-making tools.

Other panellists talked about a range of topics from ethical considerations, autonomous vehicles and fraught decision making algorithms, and greater safety outcomes from automation.

I spoke about (the probable lack of) intellectual property rights in AI generated content, robot selfies, robot inventors and the impending doom (well, that’s probably overstating things…) of intellectual property.  I discussed copyright ownership of this image created using DALL-E, on my instruction to create “A photo of a smiling red robot taking a selfie using a camera“. And I discussed the end-result of the Thaler litigation in Australia, the final outcome of which is that an inventor for the purposes of the Patents Act must be a human after all. My conclusion was that this is now a matter for policymakers and legislators to consider, with some urgency required.

There was a lively discussion between the panel and the audience, including online afterwards here and here

And I’m glad my red cardboard box robot was popular too! (Of course, unlike AI, my robot is quite sentient when my kids climb inside!)

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