Who should pay when your robot breaks the law?

Robots are unquestioningly getting more sophisticated by the year, and as a result, are becoming an indelible part of our daily lives. But as we start to increase our interactions and dependance on robots, an important question needs to be asked: What would happen if a robot actually committed a crime, or even hurt someone — either deliberately or by mistake?

While our first inclination might be to blame the robot, the matter of apportioning blame is considerably more complicated and nuanced than that. Like any incident involving an alleged criminal act, we need to consider an entire host of factors. Let's take a deeper look and find out who should pay when your robot breaks the law.
 
To help us tackle this issue we spoke to robot ethics expert Patrick Lin, the Director of Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University. It was through our conversation with him that we learned just how pertinent this issue is becoming. As Lin told io9, "Any number of parties could be held responsible for robot misbehaviour today."