I, Robot Lawyer

As space enthusiasts carry on the seemingly endless debate over the merits of human vs. robotic space exploration, a related question of great concern emerges: what about lawyer robots?

Does it take a human to practice, say, space law? It may. Last month the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that a web-based for-pay program that claimed to deliver "expert" legal services was in fact practicing law without a license. Well, the program's non-lawyer owner was. Big no-no. Thank goodness the case involved a bankruptcy law program, not some space law AI software. Interestingly, the lawbot apparently made no claim it applied to an accredited law school but was rejected. (Via Instapundit.)

But what about the future? Don't forget those "lawyer programs" in
David Brin's novel, Earth. (Spivey held up one hand. "First I must tell you, Mr. Eng, that what we're about to discuss is highly classified. Top secret." Logan winced. "I want my lawyer program." The officer smiled placatingly. "I assure you it's all legal...")

For now at least, lawyers jobs are safe from robots. But are robots safe? As BBC reports, South Korea is planning for our robotic future by putting together a
Robot Ethics Charter, to be released this year -- a set of guidelines covering the role of robots and prevention of robot abuse by humans. Or is it the other way around? (Also via Instapundit.)

(By the way, whatever happened to robot lawyers
Stacey, Dave and Nathan?)

No matter. A robot lawyer or lawdroid will probably never make the Wired's list of the
50 Best Robots Ever. Or will one?

(And can
robot judges be far behind?)
* * *
Image: ASIMO, cool humanoid robot by Honda. Studying for the robot bar.

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