Machine Ethics and Machine Law

I will be presenting the following paper at Machine Ethics and Machine Law,

November 2016

Property relations – Is property a person? Extending the Rights of Property Owners Through the Rights of Robotic Machines

Kathleen Richardson
Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility
De Montfort University


A small but vocal community in AI and robotics is calling for the recognition of the rights of machines, even suggesting that robots are slaves because they are used as instruments. I want to suggest that these scholars logic only make sense when you accept the formulations of slavery as presented by Aristotle in the Politics. Advocates of slavery confuse what it means to be a person or a thing, making persons into things (instruments) for exploitation, and things (robots and AI) into persons. While formal ideas of slavery have been abolished in Europe and North America, I want to suggest that the ideas presented by Aristotle are very much present in contemporary narratives of robotics and AI. I suggest what it at work is ‘property relations’ which encourages humans to think of themselves as property, to re-classify property (AI and robots) as types of persons.

Photo Credit: Léon Gérôme – Slave Market in Rome


Viva Technology, Paris

Thursday 30th June, 10:00 – 10:30
If robots are the future of work, where do humans fit in?
Robots will not necessarily replace human beings but the two sides will need to learn to work together. Are we up to the challenge?
Moderator: Benoît Georges, Journalist, Les Echos
Innorobo, Catherine Simon, President Founder
SoftBank Robotics Europe, Julien Seret, VP Enterprise
Balyo, Pascal Rialland, VP Marketing
De Montfort University, Kathleen Richardson, Senior Research Fellow in the Ethics of Robotics


More details HERE

Radio Interview -Women’s Liberation Radio News

WLRN 2nd Edition Podcast! | Women’s Liberation Radio News

WLRN’s second monthly podcast features Dr. Kathleen Richardson, a robotics ethicist with a background in anthropology. This program explores and discusses the social, legal and ethical implications of the mass production of child sex dolls, whose proliferation is of concern to women everywhere. Please share, comment and like widely. WLRN is committed to bringing grassroots coverage of feminist issues to women around the world.


Listen to the interview here

Women and Digital Technology – London 25th June 16

Women and the Politics of Digital Technologies – London – 25th June 2016

Breaking the Frame Women’s Group presents:

Women and the Politics of Digital Technologies

Feminist Library London

This event will focus on the relationship between women and digital technologies, including topics such as online abuse and pornography, sex robots, raising children in the digital era, and much more.

Speakers include:

Heather Brunskill-Evans on pornography and its impact
Kathleen Richardson on sex robots
Anonymous (due to online abuse) on harassment of women on the web
More to be confirmed soon
Suggested donation £10 (but please give what you can if you cannot afford £10)

The daytime event will be followed by cheap and tasty food and drinks in the evening. This event is open to women only.