Liberating Intelligent Machines with Financial Instruments

William Brace, Anniina Huttunen (Corresponding Author), Jakke Kulovesi, Lorenz G. Lechner, Kari Silvennoinen, Vesa Kantola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article addresses responsible robotics from a legal perspective. However, instead of focusing on ethical considerations elaborated in philosophy and Artificial Intelligence (AI) communities, the legal liability risks related to inherently error-prone intelligent machines are considered and a solution combining legal and economical components is proposed. Even though robots can give humans orders that they are legally obliged to follow, they are still, like ordinary machines, considered the property of humans. However, the increasing use of sensory input in machines and the associated gain in autonomy and intelligent behavior is likely to lead to the need for robot liberation. Because of the technological difficulties in creating perfectly functioning machines and the cognitive element inherent in intelligent machines and machine interactions, we propose a new kind of legal approach, i.e. a financial instrument liberating the machine. In this framework, a machine can become an ultimate machine by emancipating itself from its manufacturer/owner/operator. This can be achieved through the creation of a legal framework around this ultimate machine that in itself has economic value. The article relates to the European context. However, the solution can easily be adapted to other jurisdictions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalNordic Journal of Commercial Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2010
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Robotics
  • product liability
  • artificial intelligence
  • legal liability


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