Category Archives: Robots

Cool Things Quadcopters Can Do

Robot Quadrotors Perform James Bond Theme :

Remember that paper abstracts and also proposals for demos of works-in-progress for We Robot 2014 are due Nov. 4. Also we just opened registration for We Robot 2014.

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We Robot 2014 Call for Papers

We’ve posted the We Robot 2014 Call for Papers.

We invite submissions for “We Robot 2014: Risks & Opportunities” – a conference at the intersection of the law, policy, and technology of robotics, to be held in Coral Gables, Florida on April 4-5, 2014. We Robot is now in its third year, returning to the University of Miami School of Law after being hosted by Stanford Law School last April. The conference web site is at http://robots.law.miami.edu/2014.

We Robot 2014 seeks contributions by academics, practitioners, and developers in the form of scholarly papers or presentations of relevant projects. We invite your reports from the front lines of robot design and development, and invite contributions for works-in-progress sessions. Through this interdisciplinary gathering, we are encouraging conversations between the people designing, building, and deploying robots, and the people who design or influence the legal and social structures in which robots will operate. We particularly encourage contributions resulting from interdisciplinary collaborations, such as those between legal or policy scholars and roboticists.

Robotics is becoming a transformative technology that presents many legal and social challenges. This conference will build on existing scholarship that explores how the increasing sophistication and autonomous decision-making capabilities of robots and their widespread deployment everywhere from the home, to hospitals, to public spaces, and even to the battlefield disrupts existing legal regimes or requires rethinking of various policy issues.

Scholarly Papers

Topics of interest for the scholarly paper portion of the conference include but are not limited to:

  • Risks and opportunities of robot deployment in the workplace, the home, and other contexts where robots and humans work side-by-side.
  • Issues related to software-only systems such as automated trading agents.
  • Regulatory and licensing issues raised by robots in the home, the office, in public spaces (e.g. roads), and in specialized environments such as hospitals.
  • Design of legal rules that will strike the right balance between encouraging innovation and safety, particularly in the context of autonomous robots.
  • Issues of legal or moral responsibility, e.g. relating to autonomous robots or robots capable of exhibiting emergent behavior.
  • Usage of robots in public safety and military contexts.
  • Privacy issues relating to data collection by robots, either built for that purpose or incidental to other tasks.
  • Intellectual property challenges relating to robotics as a nascent industry, to works or inventions created by robots, or otherwise peculiar to robotics.
  • Issues arising from automation of professional tasks such as unauthorized practice of law or medicine.
  • How legal scholars should think about robots, and how roboticists should think about the legal code.

These are only some examples of relevant topics. We are very interested in papers on other topics driven by actual or probable robot deployments. The purpose of this conference is to help set a research agenda relating to the deployment of robots in society, to inform policy-makers of the issues, and to help design legal rules that will maximize opportunities and minimize risks arising from the increased deployment of robots in society.

Discussants

We also invite expressions of interest from potential discussants. Every paper accepted will be assigned a discussant whose job it will be to present and comment on the paper. These presentations will be very brief (no more than 10 minutes) and will consist mostly of making a few points critiquing the author’s paper to kick off the conversation. Authors will then respond briefly (no more than 5 minutes). The rest of the session will consist of a group discussion about the paper moderated by the discussant. Attendees will need to read papers in advance to understand and participate in each discussion.

Works-in-Progress Presentations

Unlike the scholarly papers, proposals for the works-in-progress presentations may be purely descriptive and designer/builders will be asked to present their work themselves. We’d like to hear about your latest innovations – and what’s on the drawing board for the next generations of robots as well, or about legal and policy issues you have encountered in the design or deploy process.

How to Submit Your Proposal

Please send a 1-3 page abstract outlining your proposed paper, and a c.v. of the author(s).

We Robot 2014 will be hosted by the University of Miami School of Law, Coral Gables, Florida on April 4-5, 2014. Venue details are at the conference web site.

We anticipate paying reasonable round-trip domestic coach airfare and providing hotel accommodation for presenters and discussants.

This is going to be great.

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Dispatch from We Robot 2103

I’m at We Robot 2013, which is being held at Stanford and has a strong business focus. One of the many interesting moments this morning was watching Josh Blackman play this video…

… and then explain how misleading it is. Apparently, this sort of service is only possible after a team of Google engineers have driven the route several times and made adjustments. So it’s not like the car can just show up outside your house and take you everywhere you want to go.

So far, the big topics are IP and tort. I guess that’s the sign of a technology going to market.

PS. Here’s a sneak peak of the cool logo for We Robot 2014, which will be held at the University of Miami on April 4 & 5, 2014.

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Wagner on Robotic Autonomy in the Battlespace

Fans of law and robots may want to take a look at my colleague Markus Wagner’s latest, Autonomy in the Battlespace: Independently Operating Weapon Systems and the Law of Armed Conflict.

The article analyzes the use of autonomous weapon systems (AWS) and the challenges that such systems pose with respect to compliance with the law of armed conflict. Importantly, AWS pose different questions than those surrounding the current use of unmanned aerial systems. For that reason, the article briefly sketches the history of AWS. It then distinguishes the current technologies, which operate either by way of remote control or through automated mechanisms, from systems which are currently under development and which operate either wholly autonomously or at least at a higher level of autonomy and without direct human input while carrying out their missions (II.).

Part III. provides a detailed analysis of AWS under the principle of distinction and the principle of proportionality. It argues that while AWS may be able to satisfy the former principle under certain conditions, it is not clear that the same is true for the latter. The critical challenges with respect to the principle of proportionality and its applicability for AWS is manifold. The principle is difficult to apply in the abstract and thus is difficult to “translate” into machine code in a manner that allows it to be applied to real-life situations and changing circumstances. This problem originates in the lack of a generally accepted definition of what exactly the principle of proportionality requires in each situation. The article therefore concludes that current technology is incapable of allowing AWS to be operated within the existing framework of the law of armed conflict. While there may well be situations in which these requirements are met, these situations include only a fraction of modern military operations and AWS do not provide additional benefits over existing weaponry for these situations. Part IV. provides concluding observations.

PS. Don’t forget We Robot 2013 is at Stanford this year, April 8 & 9, 2013 (RSVP here).

And here’s news: We Robot 2014 will be back in Coral Gables, April 4 & 5, 2014.

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Social Consequences of Autonomous Vehicles

Lots of food for thought in Deven Desai’s Autonomous Vehicles: Unintended Upsides and Changes. In just a few paragraphs he suggests that self-driving cars could change policing, insurance, local government revenue and even parenting.

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Robot Update

The We Robot 2013 conference will be in Stanford — and back in Miami for 2014. Paper proposals are due Friday. The conference will be April 8-9, 2013 at Stanford Law School and the theme is “Getting Down to Business”.

Meanwhile the folks here at UMiami have been getting into the spirit of thing, and produced this amazing magazine cover for the inaugural issue of Miami Law Magazine

I had some work done

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Great Writeup of We Robot 2012

Wendy Grossman, A really fancy hammer with a gun, captures a lot of what was good about our conference.

I understand NPR will be doing a story, but we don’t know if/when it will run.

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