Category Archives: Talks & Conferences

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

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.


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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Off to PLSC ’13

I’m off early today to Privacy Law Scholars, being held in Berkeley CA this year.

There are far too many interesting papers being presented at the same time — I counted six simultaneous presentations I wanted to go to in one time slot. And then there’s my latest crazy idea, that I’ll be presenting in the first session despite it still being in very early stages — although much improved for its excursion in Philadelphia. I will post a link to a copy on the blog … in a draft or two.

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Quick Trip to Philadelphia

Tomorrow I’m going to Philadelphia so that I can give a talk at U.Penn law on Wednesday. I’m going to do something very uncharacteristic and present a true work in (early) progress rather than something rather more baked which is my usual practice.

I do have a different, near-finished, paper, but it’s old enough that I’m no longer in the mood to talk about it. Instead, I’m thinking about this new paper, although it’s so new — just three weeks old — that there’s a substantial chance some step in the argument is just plain wrong and I’ll look silly. Usually I’m too risk-averse for that. But this is what I’m excited about right at this moment, and tenure ought to be good for something.

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Off to New York

I’m off to New York early tomorrow to attend a conference on Differential Privacy being held at Cardozo on Thursday. I hope to learn enough more about Differential Privacy to overcome my skepticism about whether it is actually workable in real life.

Meanwhile, I hear it’s even colder in New York than it is in South Florida. It got down to 45º (7ºC) last night, and the high was only 69º (18º C), although it felt warmer in the sun at lunch. Surely it can’t be much colder than that … although I’m taking a parka just in case.

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Twitter Hashtag for Ohio State LJ Privacy Conference

#osljprivacy is the hashtag for today’s conference on “The Second Wave of Global Privacy Protection” at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law.

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Off to Ohio

Tomorrow I’ll be making my first-ever trip to Ohio; Friday I’ll be speaking at the Ohio Law Journal‘s symposium on “The Second Wave of Global Privacy Protection.”

The list of speakers is here.

My thesis is more on the order of the lack-of-privacy in the next wave….

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Dodged That

Looks like Isaac is going westward of the previously foreseen track, and we’ll get tropical storm force winds at worst. Right now (mid-afteroon) it is at times very wet and blustery outside — a good day to be indoors.

UM has cancelled classes tomorrow in what may turn out to be an excess of caution, but I think they are still smarting from the day some years ago when they did not close early and staff were forced to drive home in dangerously strong winds. Miami-Dade schools are closed tomorrow, which is another reason I’m sure the U felt pressure to close — many staff will not have alternate childcare on tap.

The result for me is that my first Torts class will not be until Wednesday, by which time jet leg will just be a dim memory. The Oslo trip was physically tiring, but it was a good conference. It’s amazing how many scholars outside the US are interested in ICANN and related legal/political questions. Far more, I suspect, than in the US, even though (or because!) ICANN is based here, and the US government is more than primus inter pares in its oversight.

Speaking of weather, I’m told that I’ve was fortunate to enjoy exceptional summer weather there — it got over 60 every day I was there, and there were several hours of actual sunshine on Tuesday. But it’s true what they say about prices in Norway. Wow.

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