Law and Ethics on Robots and Artificial Intelligence


Course Objective

Students that have graduated for this course:
- Acquire an advanced knowledge of legal and ethical issues related to
robots and artificial intelligence;
- Explain their own well-founded opinion on the tasks and challenges for
the law related to robots and artificial intelligence;
- Are able to critically reflect on the state of the law in the light of
technical topics related to robots and artificial intelligence, and to
formulate their own well-founded opinion in current academic debates in
this field.

Course objectives ('Eindtermen'). At the end of the course the student
- is aware of the contextual demands (not to stifle technological
development by enacting restrictive legislation, while at the same time
protecting fundamental rights and freedoms of a democratic society) law
has to deal with;
- is able to assess the legal and societal aspects of a problem in an
integrated way and critically reflect on possible approaches and
- is able to formulate their own well-founded opinion on the challenges
posed by particular applications of robots and AI.
Eindtermen: 3-4, 15.

Course Content

Amongst emerging technologies robotics and artificial intelligence are
prominent both in terms of existing as well as expected use in society.
These technologies are special, because they come close to how we humans
function. At this moment both robots and artificial intelligence are
primarily used for specific tasks (playing games, surgery, self-driving
cars), but developments are moving fast. What exactly the future brings
is difficult to tell, but no one denies the potential and risks related
to robotics and artificial intelligence. Not surprisingly, in the legal
and policy arena an active discussion is going on related to legal and
ethical issues. These are the issues addressed in this course. The
legal angle includes both existing law and the need for new law. If new
law is needed, discussion will also be on how this new law should be
drafted. For instance, presently the European Parliament is analyzing if
maybe some time in the future we may need some sort of legal personality
for robots, and Harari is even fantasying about legal personhood for
algorithms. Ethics can apply to both the development and use of robots
and artificial intelligence. In this course ethics is primarily used to
either constrain the application of existing law or to guide the
drafting of new law.

Applications that are covered in this course include softbots, the
internet of (robot) things, ambient technology, autonomous intelligent
vehicles, and social robots (care and sex).

Teaching Methods

The course will be delivered through lectures and seminars, partly given
by guest-lecturers who are experts in their respective fields. Students
are expected to read the required materials beforehand, prepare
assignments for interactive tutorial classes, and to actively
participate in the discussion.

Method of Assessment

Paper assignments.


Literature will be made available in the online learning environment

Target Audience

Apart from regular students, the course is also available for:
Students from other universities/faculties
Contractor (students who pay for one course).

Courses from a master at the faculty can only be taken as a secondary
course if you have a diploma that gives access to the relevant master/
specialization and if you are enrolled in a master.

General Information

Course Code R_LERAI
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 600
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator dr. mr. M. van der Linden
Examiner dr. mr. M. van der Linden
Teaching Staff dr. mr. M. van der Linden

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: