A Robot’s Demise Raises Serious Questions

Written By

Capsicum Group

After charming locals in Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, the traveling robot known as hitchBOT made an ill-fated trip across the United States earlier this month. It was welcomed warmly in Salem, Massachusetts, and San Francisco, but the journey came to an abrupt halt in none other than Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, where persons unknown (maybe frightened by the robot, or just annoyed that it was in their way) destroyed and decapitated hitchBOT early in the morning of August 1st.

Perhaps in Philly, the bonds of brotherhood only extend to flesh-and-blood beings, not mechanical ones. Ironic insights aside, however, this story got us thinking about serious issues surrounding technology and the law. It might sound absurd at the moment to wonder about the legality of “killing” a robot, but some futurists have made a convincing case for why robots may, within the next few decades, require inalienable rights similar to those granted to people.

Although robots might not be granted full citizenship anytime soon, there exist today plenty of current and pressing problems generated by the exponential acceleration of technological advancement. Namely, the reach of the law is lagging behind developing technology, leaving regulatory gaps between the two. Although frustrating for litigators as well as those they represent, the process of creating regulation is difficult and lengthy for good reason. It takes time for us as a society to reach a consensus on how to ethically approach certain situations, such as the appropriate use and treatment of technology.

In the meantime, the gaps between technological development and formal regulations leave corporations and other large organizations that handle sensitive data open to cyberattacks. Nowhere is this more apparent than the healthcare and finance industries. Organizations in these sectors are responsible for some of the world’s biggest clients and host a treasure trove of hyper-sensitive personal and financial data. However, companies eager to get the latest technology—usually in order to serve their clients better with faster service and increased personalization—often end up putting them at risk when they let security and privacy measures fall by the wayside.

As technological development continues to accelerate at an exponentially faster pace, these issues, whether those of legal legitimacy or cybersecurity, will become even more complicated. No one has observed these trends better than Capsicum Group, since our team is composed of experts with decades’ worth of experience in technology. We remain on the cutting edge of cybersecurity and data protection so that your business stays one step ahead. If you’re concerned about breaches (and you should be), Capsicum can perform a top-down assessment of your network and evaluate security strengths and flaws. Our IT experts live and breathe the principles of security by design, which builds incident readiness into your network design from the ground up. An in the case of a breach, our incident response team is ready the control the situation by investigating the incident for later legal action and repairing the effects of the threat.