Category Archives: Robots
“Robot Law” Addresses Law, Ethics, and Philosophy in the 21st Century
New book discusses driverless cars, drones, sexbots, and more
CORAL GABLES, FL — “Robot Law” might sound like science fiction, but it’s an increasingly important area of law, and the title of an exciting new book from Edward Elgar Publishing.
“We assembled this book because robots are on the precipice of creating a number of significant social challenges that law is currently ill-equipped to address,” says co-editor and chapter author, University of Ottawa law professor Ian Kerr.
Kerr joins co-editors Ryan Calo (University of Washington School of Law) and A. Michael Froomkin (University of Miami School of Law) at the “Robot Law” book launch at the University of Miami. The event takes place at 12:30 p.m. on April 1, and is part of the annual We Robot conference.
“Robots have great potential to take on unpleasant, difficult, or boring tasks, but they also present real risks that require careful planning by designers and by policy-makers,” writes Froomkin. “The technical issues are far more complex than lawyers tend to imagine, and the legal, ethical, and philosophical issues more controversial … than engineers tend to imagine.”
“Robot Law” tackles complex technical, ethical, and legal issues raised by robotics, such as driverless cars, killer robots, sexbots, and drones. The authors explore the increasing sophistication and utility of robots—from home and hospitals, to public spaces and the battlefield—and raise serious philosophical and public policy concerns. According to Calo, the book presents readers with “a perfect snapshot of the early days of an exciting new field.”
The 424-page collection includes research from engineers, ethicists, lawyers, roboticists, philosophers, and military personnel, and features original cover art by acclaimed artist Eric Joyner.
“This is an important book for academics, policy-makers and future legal decision-makers; but other folks will love it too,” says Kerr. “I mean, really. Who doesn’t love robots?”
“We Robot” Book Release Event
12:30 p.m. on April 1
University of Miami Newman Alumni Center
6200 San Amaro Drive, Coral Gables, FL, 33146
Edited by Ryan Calo, A. Michael Froomkin, and Ian Kerr
Cover art by Eric Joyner
Edward Elgar Publishing, $165
ISBN: 978 1 78347 672 5
About Ryan Calo:
Ryan Calo is an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law and co-director of the University of Washington Tech Policy Lab. He is an affiliate scholar at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society and the Yale Law School Information Society Project. He also serves on numerous advisory boards, including the University of California’s People and Robots Initiative, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Without My Consent, and the Future of Privacy Forum.
About A. Michael Froomkin:
Michael Froomkin is the Laurie Silvers and Mitchell Rubenstein Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law and an Affiliated Fellow of the Yale Information Society Project. He is the founder of the We Robot conference, and is on the Advisory Boards of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Future of Privacy Forum.
About Ian Kerr:
Dr. Ian Kerr holds the Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law & Technology at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. He also holds cross-appointments to the Faculty of Medicine, the Department of Philosophy and the School of Information Studies. His research focuses on the ethical and legal implications of artificial intelligence, robotics and implantable devices.
About We Robot:
We Robot is an interdisciplinary conference on the legal and policy questions relating to robots for those on the front lines of robot theory, design, or development. The fifth annual conference takes place April 1-2 in Coral Gables, FL, at the University of Miami Newman Alumni Center.
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Ian Kerr, University of Ottawa
A. Michael Froomkin
We Robot press inquiries and media credentialing:
Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs
University of Miami School of Law Office of External Affairs
1311 Miller Drive, G357, Coral Gables, FL 33146
We have an incredible 3-day program, starting with workshops on Thursday then a 2-day academic conference. Pre-registration is closed, bu there should be some tickets at the door. All the papers are now available online. UM faculty and student tickets are only $35 — but student readers of this blog who write to me and give me a good reason are eligible to get in free.
For physical attendees, We Robot 2016 has been approved by the Florida Bar for 25.0 credits of General CLE, including 3.5 Ethics credits. General Registration is $159.00.
We’re also broadcasting Friday and Saturday’s events on We Robot’s Livestream. The twitter hashtag is #WeRobot.
Papers for We Robot 2016 are now available from the Program Page — look for the colorful hyperlinks. If you’re coming, or if you are planning to follow along online, you will want to read as many of the papers as you can before the event. We Robot authors do not present their papers; instead we jump straight to the discussant, who summarizes the paper and then offers comments. The author(s) respond briefly, and then we turn it over to our amazing attendees for their questions and reactions. This makes for a much more substantive session, but it works better if you’ve read the paper in advance.
If you would prefer to download the papers all at once, here’s a zip file with all of the papers.
And if you haven’t registered yet, don’t delay: Registration closes on Monday at 5pm, and there will be only a very limited number of seats at the door.
Nice write-up by Nicholas Deleon in Why Google’s Self-Driving Car Crash Doesn’t Change Anything.
As I told him, I think it’s wrong to expect robot cars to be 100% safe; so having a Google self-driving car in a fender-bender is of no real significance. There are a lot of issues with self-driving cars, but their failure to be perfect is not in my opinion one of them. Indeed, until all cars on the road are controlled by compatible (note I said compatible, not centrally controlled!) systems, the interaction between, excuse the term, legacy cars and robotic cars — not to mention pedestrians, stray animals, and debris on the road — means accidents will happen.
As I told Delon, one issue is whether the robot car is (provably) safer than the average human. Another issue is who should pay when the robot car is at fault, wholly or partly, for the accidents. The law has not determined how to allocate responsibility between the passenger, the owner, the programmer, and the manufacturer. We could treat this as a straight-forward problem of product liability law, or we could be more creative. I’m thinking on it.