Monthly Archives: September 2021

#WeRobot 2021 Starts Today!

Join us for the 10th Anniversary Edition – Register Here. All events will be virtual. All times are US Eastern time.

At We Robot we ask (and expect) that everyone reads the papers scheduled for Days One and Two in advance of those sessions. (The Workshops do not have advance papers.) In most cases, authors do not deliver their papers. Instead we go straight to the discussant’s wrap-up and appreciation/critique. The authors respond briefly, and then we open it up to Q&A from our fabulous attendee/participants. Click on the paper titles below to download a .pdf text of each paper. Enjoy! Or you can download a zip file of Friday’s papers and Saturday’s papers.

We Robot 2021 Program

Download full schedule to your calendar.

We Robot 2021 will be hosted on Whova. We’ve prepared a We Robot 2021 Attendee Guide. You can also Get Whova Now.

We Robot 2021 has been approved for 19.0 Florida CLE credits, including 19.0 in technology, 1.0 in ethics, and 3.5 in bias elimination. Details here.

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Posted in AI, Robots, Talks & Conferences | Comments Off on #WeRobot 2021 Starts Today!

Quality Trolling

If only my trolls were this clever.

Source: Crooks & Liars, Troll Of The Week: ‘Funeral Home’ Sponsors Advert Against Vaccines.

Posted in COVID-19 | Comments Off on Quality Trolling

If It’s a Commie Plot, Why Aren’t ‘Patriots’ More Into Fighting It?

Doug Holland’s comment on the previous post sparks an interesting question I have not seen raised elsewhere.

Holland writes, in the context of vaccine resistors,

The whole endless show is an invitation to the Russkies or Chinese. If they ever have an urge to attack, like we’ve been told for decades they’re itching to, they should use a biological agent against Americans. Even if there’s an easy way to prevent the infection, millions and millions of us are so stupid we’ll refuse it.

Which makes me wonder: I would imagine that many of the same people who object to COVID vaccinations also think COVID was released from a Chinese lab. Thus, the “China virus”.

But if you really thought that COVID was a Chinese plot, why wouldn’t you, as a patriotic, red-blooded, American, want to be first in line to defang that plot? Even if it meant wearing masks everywhere and taking a supposedly ‘untested’ vaccine [corrected] with various mysterious risks that you heard might have felled someone’s cousin’s friend?

Indeed, neither vaccination nor mask-wearing has been sold much as a patriotic activity. Why is that?

Posted in COVID-19, Politics: US: Healthcare | 4 Comments

Bloomberg Commentator Comes Real Close to Saying DeSantis Has Chosen to Kill People

Here is Jon Authors in his “Points of Return” newsletter for Sept. 16, 2021:

Looking at the numbers for Texas and Florida, the two large states where Republican governors have vocally refused to enforce social distancing and where there is great skepticism toward the vaccine, the results are startling. I compiled the following chart the same way as the earlier comparison of the U.S. and the U.K., indexing both states’ death rates to the peak in the first wave, which in the southern U.S. came in August last year. As with the U.S. and the U.K., the pattern was remarkably similar until early this summer. Since then, Texas has endured a clear-cut third wave. The experience in Florida is remarkable, and suggests that there is more to the problem than vaccine hesitancy:

Unlike virtually anywhere else in the Western world, Florida is in the midst of a third wave much worse than the first two. Without getting too political, this makes the state’s current policies toward the virus very hard to understand; and also makes the current death toll look like the result of deliberate decisions, both by politicians and individuals. This is only a hypothesis, and it looks as though there is more to the Floridian third wave than resistance to vaccines, but numbers like this help explain why investors are calm.

Let me repeat the key bit: “Without getting too political, this makes the state’s current policies toward the virus very hard to understand; and also makes the current death toll look like the result of deliberate decisions, both by politicians and individuals.”

Thank you, Ron DeSantis!

Posted in COVID-19, Florida | 1 Comment

We Robot is Next Week!!!

WeRobot 2021

We Robot, now heading into its 10th anniversary, is the leading North American conference on robotics law and policy. The 2021 event will be hosted by the University of Miami School of Law on September 23 – 25, 2021.

Due to safety concerns we’ve decided to take We Robot to a fully virtual format again.

Earn CLE
19.0 Florida CLE credits approved, including 19.0 in technology, 1.0 in ethics, and 3.5 in bias elimination.

Register Today!

New virtual prices:
Workshop on Sept. 23: $25.00
Admission for both days, Sept. 24 & 25: $49.00
All students and UM Faculty for all 3 days: $25.00

Although we’d looked forward to welcoming you back to Coral Gables and will not be able to see you in person, we look forward very much to your virtual participation in We Robot 2021. The heart of We Robot has always been its participants, and we will do all we can to preserve that. See you (virtually) soon!

For more information, visit

See Full Program

September 23 – 25, 2021

Posted in AI, Robots, Talks & Conferences | Comments Off on We Robot is Next Week!!!

DeSantis Anti-Mask Policy is Killing Children

DeSantis COVID PolicyWe don’t know for sure if some of these fatalities would have happened anyway, but it’s highly likely that the number would have been lower if we required masks in schools.

Politico, Child Covid deaths more than doubled in Florida as kids returned to the classroom:

A POLITICO analysis of weekly Covid-19 reports from the Florida Department of Health shows that 10 children under the age of 16 died from Covid-19 from July 30 to present as the Delta variant — which is much more transmissible — became the dominant strain. Previously, a total of seven kids died from the virus from the beginning of the pandemic through July, amounting to a span of more than 15 months.

The state now has seen 17 deaths, and American Academy of Pediatrics Florida President Lisa Gwynn said many of them may have had underlying medical conditions when they became infected.

“Having said that, it doesn’t mean we’re not worried sick about it,” Gwynn said during a Sept. 3 interview. “We’re all worried because we’re not sure what’s going to happen in the future.”

The child deaths come as Florida finally sees an easing in the surge of new infections, which ravaged the state over the summer. Florida accounted for one in five infections nationwide over the summer, which stretched an already strapped nursing workforce and jammed hospitals to the point where some facilities used office boardrooms as overflow wards.

But the deaths since July 30 also occurred as hundreds of thousands of kids in Florida began returning to classrooms and amid the ongoing fight between DeSantis and school districts over student mask mandates.

The more than 46,000 people in Florida who have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began includes over 36,000 seniors aged 65 and older. While the 17 child deaths may seem low compared to the older adults, the increase of six deaths in August is an inevitable result of more kids becoming infected, according to officials at the Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville.

Mobeen Rathore, Wolfson’s chief of pediatric infectious disease and immunology, said more children are being admitted to intensive care units and getting intubated.

“Unfortunately, some of these children will not survive,” Rathore said.

… [O]therwise healthy kids are now facing multisystem inflammatory syndrome about a month after they become infected by the virus. The syndrome, also known as MIS-C, is an inflammation of the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The syndrome can also affect individuals with mild cases.

By the way, in case you are a Floridian who was wondering what the COVID rates are like where you live, fuggedaboutit, as the Governor doesn’t want you to know: How many people have died of COVID-19 in your Florida community? State won’t tell you,

COVID-19 killed one Floridian an average of about every four minutes last week, the second worst in the nation.

But for those wanting to know how many people are dying every day in their own communities – good luck. The state of Florida won’t say. Nor will most local public health officials. At least one county acknowledged it doesn’t know. Federal websites show either incomplete or inconsistent data for Florida’s counties.

We know that Florida last week reported 2,345 COVID-19 deaths for the state. But, almost uniquely throughout the United States, Florida has not reported deaths at the county level for three months. The intensity of this worst wave of the pandemic in a given locale is anyone’s guess.

The state Department of Health says to look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for county death tolls. But the number reported on one CDC webpage undercounts Florida’s tally by thousands, and the CDC’s most prominent map of county-level COVID-19 deaths shows only blanks for each of the state’s 67 counties.

The Florida Department of Health once reported county death tolls each day before switching to weekly reporting in early June. Spokeswoman Weesam Khoury gave no indication the department intends to return those local death statistics to its weekly reports …

When pressed on why the data don’t appear in the state’s weekly reports, Khoury replied, “If you don’t like those answers, I don’t know what else to tell you.”

Posted in COVID-19, Florida | Comments Off on DeSantis Anti-Mask Policy is Killing Children