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What Do We Do When A Machine Breaks the Law?

One of the most interesting essays I came across in John Brockman’s latest anthology¬†(What to Think about Machines that Think) was by a security technologist called Bruce Scheier.

Scheier discusses an art piece turned technological experiment that took place last year, where two Swiss artists programmed a Random Botnot Shopper to spend $100 in bitcoin a week on any random item from an anonymous black market. Most of the things the bot purchased was ordinarily benign (fake Diesel jeans, a baseball cap with a hidden camera, a pair of Nikes). However the bot also managed to purchase ten ecstasy tablets and a fake Hugarian passport..

This experiment outlines an interesting question that will surely become more an more pertinent over the months and years to come. What do we do when a machine breaks the law?

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