Law and Autonomous Systems Series: Machine Performance and Human Failure

Entry in Oxford Business Law Blog.


Autonomous machines are on the rise. In many use cases, their performance today already exceeds human capabilities. However, machines do not operate flawlessly—defects and accidents occur. This raises a couple of important regulatory issues: When are autonomous machines safe enough to justify their admission to practice? What are the feedback effects of machine performance on the level of care required from humans? What should be the civil liability regime governing autonomous machines if defects and/or accidents occur?