Category Archives: Robots

Popular Science Likes Our Book

Robot Law is the front of their homepage today, and the subject of an article, Rock ‘em, sock ‘em, cross examine ‘em.

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Just Got My Advance Copy of ‘Robot Law’!

robotlawThis is exciting: just got my first copy of “Robot Law,” a book I edited with Ryan Calo and Ian Kerr. I suppose I might be a little biased, but I think it’s a pretty darn good collection that will give anyone interested in how society will cope with robots plenty to think about.

Robot Law is apparently going to list for $165 when it’s out in (very) late March, which is a lot, but you can pre-order it for less, or buy an online copy for much less. Meanwhile, however, you can peek inside, and read my introductory essay which gives you a tour of the wonderful contributions by our extraordinarily varied contributors. This is not a book just by some law profs: it’s an attempt to do real interdisciplinary work and, more importantly, to foster an ongoing series of interdisciplinary conversations.

Of course, the real-life place where we do that is at We Robotregistration for this year’s conference is now open and the early-bird discounted registration ends Friday.

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Terrific We Robot 2016 Program Announced

We Robot 2016 Small sizeWe’ve got an absolutely spectacular program lined up for We Robot 2016. It’s a little crowded, but that’s because we got so many great submissions, many of which we still had to turn away. Register now for this action-packed event: April 1 & 2 for the main program, plus special workshops on March 31.

Thursday, March 31


9:00am Check-in & breakfast

9:15am Welcome

9:30am Juris Machina: Legal Aspects of Robotics

Organizer: Woody Hartzog, Cumberland School of Law at Samford University

11:00am Break

11:15am Electronic Love, Trust, & Abuse: Social Aspects of Robotics

Organizer: Kate Darling, Research Specialist at MIT Media Lab. Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Affiliate at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

12:45pm Lunch

2:00pm “The Robot Revolution has been Rescheduled (until we can debug the sensors)”: Technical Aspects of Robotics

Organizer: William D. Smart, Mechanical Engineering, Oregon State University

3:30pm Break

3:45pm Funding the Future: Financial Aspects of Robotics

Organizer: Dan Siciliano, Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford Law School

5:15pm Wrap up

Friday, April 1st


Check-in and Breakfast



Welcome Remarks: Patricia White, University of Miami School of Law
Introductory Remarks and Introduction of Sponsors: A. Michael Froomkin, University of Miami School of Law, Program Chair


Moral Crumple Zones: Cautionary Tales in Human Robot Interaction
Madeleine Elish, The Intelligence & Autonomy Initiative, Data & Society
Discussant: Rebecca Crootof, The Information Society Project, Yale Law School

10:00am Break


Privacy-Sensitive Robotics: Initial Survey and Future Directions
Matthew Rueben, Personal Robotics, Oregon State University
Discussant: Ashkan Soltani, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

11:30am Break


How to Engage the Public on the Ethics and Governance of Lethal Autonomous Weapons
Jason Millar, Philosophy, Queen’s University
Discussant: Peter Asaro, School of Media Studies, The New School for Public Engagement, Stanford Law School, International Committee for Robot Arms Control

12:30pm Lunch


Demonstration: Legal and Ethical Implications for Robots in our Life
Olivier Guihelm, Aldebaran, SoftBank Robotics

3:45pm Break


Hot Topic: Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous Vehicles, Predictability, and Law
Harry Surden, University of Colorado Law School
Connect Cars – Recent Legal developments
Françoise Gilbert, The IT Law Group
Discussant: Dan Siciliano, Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford Law School


Robots Again: Thoughts On the Origins and Direction of Robotics Law
Ryan Calo, University of Washington School of Law
Discussant: Chris Yoo, Communication, and Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania Law School


Poster Session & Reception

7:00pm Birds of a Feather Sessions@ Local restaurants

Saturday, April 2nd


Registration and Breakfast


Privacy and Healthcare Robots – An ANT analysis
Aurelia Tamo, The Chair for Information and Communication Law and Visiting Researcher, The Institute for Pervasive Computing, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Christoph Lutz, Institute for Media and Communications Management, University of St. Gallen
Discussant: Matt Beane, MIT Sloan School of Management

9:45am Break


Institutional Options for Robot Governance
Dr. Aaron Mannes, Apex Data Analytics Engine, HSARPA Department of Homeland Security
Discussant: Harry Surden, University of Colorado Law School

11:15am Break


Will #BlackLivesMatter to RoboCop?
Peter Asaro, School of Media Studies, The New School for Public Engagement, Stanford Law School, International Committee for Robot Arms Control
Discussant: Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami School of Law


Special Event: Policy, Law, and Robotics in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Raj Madhavan, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Institute for Systems Research & Maryland Robotics Center at the University of Maryland

12:30pm Lunch


Demonstration: Openrov And Openrov Trident: Democratizing Exploration, Conservation, And Marine Science Through Low-Cost Open-Source Underwater Robots
Andrew Thaler, OpenROV
David Land, OpenROV

3:00pm Break


Siriously? Free Speech Rights for Artificial Intelligence
Helen Norton, University of Colorado School of Law
Toni Massaro, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
Discussant: Margot E. Kaminski, Ohio State University

4:15pm Break


What do We Really Know About Robots and the Law?
William D. Smart, Mechanical Engineering, Oregon State University
Discussant: Ian Kerr, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Medicine, and Department of Philosophy.


Final Remarks: A. Michael Froomkin, University of Miami School of Law

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The Future is Now

I’m at a meaty NSF/DHS conference on the regulatory challenges of ‘autonomous’ machines. (The scare quotes reflect the consensus that this is a contested term.)

The seriousness of the event has not stopped participants from noting that it’s Roy Batty’s birthday today (Blade Runner, in case you don’t get the reference).

Posted in Kultcha, Robots, Talks & Conferences | Leave a comment


“Man is the lowest-cost, 150-pound, nonlinear, all-purpose computer system which can be mass-produced by unskilled labor.”

— attributed to a 1965 NASA report by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee | Labor in the Second Machine Age. (Spotted via DeLong)

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Deadline for We Robot Paper/Demo Proposals is Nov. 1

Reminder: We invite submissions for We Robot 2016 to be held in Coral Gables, Florida on April 1-2, 2016 at the University of Miami School of Law. See the full call for papers and participation.

We Robot–the premier US conference on law and policy relating to Robotics that began at the University of Miami School of Law in 2012, and has since been held at Stanford and University of Washington–returns to Miami Law April 1st-2nd in 2016. Attendees include lawyers, engineers, philosophers, robot builders, ethicists, and regulators who are on the front lines of robot theory, design, or development. The main conference will be preceded by a day of special workshops on March 31. Details at the We Robot web site.

We Robot 2016 seeks contributions by academics, practitioners, and others in the form of scholarly papers or demonstrations of technology or other projects. We Robot fosters conversations between the people designing, building, deploying and using 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, ethical, economics, or policy scholars and roboticists.

This conference will build on the growing body of scholarship that explores the increasing sophistication and decision-making capabilities of robots, in collaboration with humans and autonomously, and the increasingly widespread deployment of robots everywhere from the home, to hospitals, to public spaces, to the battlefield. All of this disrupts existing legal regimes or requires rethinking of various policy issues. This year the program committee is especially interested in papers that discuss issues relating to the deployment of robots in positions that put them in direct contact with people, but as always we remain open to cutting-edge works on any topics fitting within our larger mission. Surprise us. Educate us. We’re listening.

PS. If you would rather attend and be part of our very lively audience, registration is open and there’s an early bird rate.

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I’m on the Drone Law Today Podcast

DroneLawTodayToday’s Drone Law Today guest is … me.

Professor Froomkin Talks Drone Law

Hello, Drone Law Nation! In this episode, we speak to Professor Michael Froomkin of the University of Miami School of Law. Professor Froomkin is a leading scholar on “drone law” and robotics. He is also the founder and chair of the We Robot academic conference.

We Robot will be hosted by Miami Law in April, 2016. The call for papers is out! Head over to the We Robot site for attendance information and for more on how to apply to be a speaker or presenter.

Listen in to hear Professor Froomkin’s take on federal and state drone law, self-defense against robots and drones, federal preemption, and a whole lot more.

You can hear the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher.

Update: Thanks to Steve Hogan, the host of Drone Law Today, here are links to a direct download mp3 and to the Libsyn site with the show notes and embedded player for those of us on Android and PC without iTunes or Sticher.

Posted in Robots, Talks & Conferences | 2 Comments