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93 U. Colo. L. Rev. 51 (2022)

handle is hein.journals/ucollr93 and id is 63 raw text is: 


                     ANDREW   KEANE   WOODS*

     Robots-machines,   algorithms, artificial intelligence-play
     an increasingly important role in society, often supplementing
     or even replacing human judgment. Scholars have rightly be-
     come concerned with the fairness, accuracy, and humanity of
     these systems. Indeed, anxiety about machine bias is at a fever
     pitch. While these concerns are important, they nearly all run
     in one direction: we worry about robot bias against humans;
     we rarely worry about human bias against robots.

     This is a mistake. Not because robots deserve, in some deonto-
     logical sense, to be treated fairly-although that may  be
     true-but because our bias against nonhuman deciders is bad
     for us. For example, it would be a mistake to reject self-driving
     cars merely because they cause a single fatal accident. Yet all
     too often this is what we do. We tolerate enormous risk from
     our fellow humans  but almost none from  machines. A sub-
     stantial literature-almost entirely ignored by legal scholars
     concerned with algorithmic bias-suggests that we routinely
     prefer worse-performing humans  over better-performing ro-
     bots. We do this on our roads, in our courthouses, in our mili-
     tary, and in our hospitals. Our bias against robots is costly,
     and it will only get more so as robots become more capable.

     This Article catalogs the many different forms of antirobot
     bias and suggests some reforms to curtail the harmful effects
     of that bias. The Article's descriptive contribution is to develop
     a taxonomy of robophobia. Its normative contribution is to of-
     fer some reasons to be less biased against robots. The stakes
     could hardly be higher. We are entering an age when one of

     * Professor of Law, University of Arizona. The author thanks Jane Bambauer,
Dan Rodriguez, Albertina Antognini, Tammi Walker, Alan Rozenshtein, Jess Find-
ley, Mark Lemley, Kiel Brennan-Marquez, Dave Pozen, Shalev Roisman, Derek
Bambauer, Marc Miller, Chris Robertson, and workshop participants at Harvard
University, the University of Arizona, and Arizona State University. The author is
grateful to the editors of the Colorado Law Review, especially Ming Lee Newcomb
and Brendan Soane, for their diligence and care. Comments welcome: akwoods@ar-

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