Innovative Technologies May Lead to New Torts, Shook Attorneys' Report Argues

Shook Partner Cary Silverman, Of Counsel Jonathan Wilson and Staff Attorney Sarah Goggans have authored a follow-up to their 2017 report, Torts of the Future: Addressing the Liability and Regulatory Implications of Emerging Technologies. The second edition examines evolutions in the regulatory and litigation landscapes and future liability trends associated with four primary emerging technology groups:

  • Robotics and artificial intelligence;
  • Virtual and augmented reality;
  • Wearable devices; and
  • 3D printing. 
Silverman, Wilson and Goggans predict what claims are likely to arise as an effect of the technologies’ implementation and how courts will apply constitutional principles to novel situations. The paper concludes with a set of principles of liability and regulation to guide courts, legislators and policymakers as they grapple with the challenges presented by emerging technologies. Among other things, these principles contend that:
  • traditional principles of liability adequately address most claims that arise from emerging technologies;
  • courts should apply constitutional principles of standing to preclude lawsuits seeking recovery for speculative fear of future harm;
  • state and local governments should avoid imposing regulations on emerging technology when federal agencies have acted on or are actively considering the issue; and
  • when regulation is warranted, it should be developed in collaboration with stakeholders who fully understand the technology.