When Robots Make Legal Mistakes


Susan C Morse

72 Oklahoma Law Review 213


The questions presented by robots’ legal mistakes are examples of the legal process inquiry that asks when the law will accept decisions as final, even if they are mistaken. Legal decision-making robots include market robots and government robots. In either category, they can make mistakes of undercompliance or overcompliance. A market robot’s overcompliance mistake or a government robot’s undercompliance mistake is unlikely to be challenged. On the other hand, government enforcement can challenge a market robot’s undercompliance mistake, and an aggrieved regulated party can object to a government robot’s overcompliance mistake. Robots will have an incentive to make decisions that will avoid the prospect of challenge, especially if they cannot defend their legal decisions due to a lack of explainability. This incentive could encourage counterintuitive results. For instance, it could encourage market robots to overcomply and government robots to undercomply with the law.

Full Citation

Susan C Morse, When Robots Make Legal Mistakes, 72 Oklahoma Law Review 213 (2019).