Case of the Killer Robot: Ethical and Legal Issues

The fictitious Case of the Killer Robot is the platform for determining ethical choices in designing machines. There is the major dilemma between the implementation of the program, machine or robot, and the ethics behind it. This paper is to assess the stakeholders’ points of view, facts, ethical and legal norms related to the case, and the possible options for its resolution.

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The stakeholders’ analysis

Traditionally, there are two major stakeholders’ points of views defined for this case. The first side is the side of Roberta Matthews, whose husband Bart Matthews was killed by the robot Robbie CX30 that had the faulty program. The Prosecuting Attorney Jane McMurdock represents the Mrs. Matthews’s case in the court against Randy Samuels, the programmer who wrote the code, containing the crucial mistake.

The Prosecution blames Randy Samuels as the one immediately responsible for writing the code. However, the point worth noting is that the responsibility cannot be exclusively put on Randy Samuels. He had the intermediate supervision, the project manager Sam Reynolds, and Ray Johnson, the Robotics Division Chief, who set the project in motion. Another stakeholder to this case is Jan Anderson, who was fired from the company because she considered the technological model of Robbie CX30 dangerous.

The analysis of facts

Ruth Witherspoon, awho demands justice for Randy Samuels, noted that from the legal standpoint, it was the responsibility of Silicon Techtronics, and not personally Randy Samuels to put the robot into the operating only if it is safe. Randy Samuels is responsible for the code in front of his immediate supervisor. And the supervisor and the testing team are to make sure Robbie CX30 is not dangerous. However, another fact is the management was presumably aware of the dangers because Jan Anderson described the waterfall technology as dangerous and was fired for that reason.

The norms relevant to the case

If the assumption were that Randy Samuels did not know about the possible dangers of the code, and his project manager and department director did, then there would be neither ethical nor legal grounds to blame the creator of the code. Eventually, the company is legally obligated to both consumers and its employees, including Bart Matthews.

However, we do not know for sure, what was Randy Samuels aware of, that is why there are a few possible scenarios. If he knew about the dangers of the waterfall model, yet decided to continue the work, he broke an ethical norm and possibly legal one. He can claim that he had to write the code; otherwise, he would be fired, and that he hoped that the faulty code would be fixed at the further stages of development. It is hardly justifiable ethically, but from the standpoint of law, it is no more than negligence.

The options for the case resolution

In such a way, there are two main options for meeting the legal and ethical points of view. If Randy Samuels was deliberately creating the code in a way it could cause harm, then the bigger share of responsibility for the case lies on him. However, if he is responsible only for the negligence, then the major responsible party to this case is Silicon Techtronics, and particularly the project manager Sam Reynold and the department director Ray Jonson.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, January 17). Case of the Killer Robot: Ethical and Legal Issues. Retrieved from

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"Case of the Killer Robot: Ethical and Legal Issues." StudyCorgi, 17 Jan. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Case of the Killer Robot: Ethical and Legal Issues." January 17, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Case of the Killer Robot: Ethical and Legal Issues." January 17, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Case of the Killer Robot: Ethical and Legal Issues." January 17, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Case of the Killer Robot: Ethical and Legal Issues'. 17 January.

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