Robots, standards and the law: Rivalries between private standards and public policymaking for robot governance

Eduard Fosch Villaronga, Angelo Jr Golia
2019 Computer Law and Security Review  
Standardization Lawmaking Robots Artificial intelligence Policy Human-robot interaction Private actors Public regulatory bodies a b s t r a c t This article explains the complex intertwinement between public and private regulators in the case of robot technology. Public policymaking ensures broad multi-stakeholder protected scope, but its abstractness often fails in intelligibility and applicability. Private standards, on the contrary, are more concrete and applicable, but most of the times
more » ... are voluntary and reflect industry interests. The 'better regulation' approach of the EU may increase the use of evidence to inform policy and lawmaking, and the involvement of different stakeholders. Current hard-lawmaking instruments do not appear to take advantage of the knowledge produced by standard-based regulations, virtually wasting their potential benefits. This fact affects the legal certainty with regards to a fast-paced changing environment like robotics. In this paper, we investigate the challenges of overlapping public/private regulatory initiatives that govern robot technologies in general, and in the concrete of healthcare robot technologies. We wonder until what extent robotics should be governed only by standards. We also reflect on how public policymaking could increase their technical understanding of robot technology to devise an applicable and comprehensive framework for this technology. In this respect, we propose different ways to integrate the technical know-how into policymaking (e.g., collecting the data/knowledge generated from the im-✩ This paper is the result of a joint effort of the two authors. However, Section III and the Proposal 1 in Section IV are more properly attributable to Eduard Fosch-Villaronga, while Section II and the Proposals 2 and 3 in Section IV are more properly attributable to Angelo Jr Golia. All the other parts are attributable to both authors. RR This paper has been produced by a member of the Microsoft Cloud Computing Research Centre, a collaboration between the Cloud Legal Project at
doi:10.1016/j.clsr.2018.12.009 fatcat:yf3yoa4znfgwbny3gxgejoln3y