Discussants and Moderators (Day 1)

We’ve selected a slightly unusual way to organize the presentation of scholarly papers at the We Robot 2012 conference. For the single-paper presentations, rather than have paper authors present their own papers, we’ve chosen a group of distinguished discussants and asked them to do the presentation, and then to also offer an appreciation and critique of it.  The author(s) will then reply to the discussant’s presentation before opening the floor to comments and questions. Moderators of panel discussions will organize the conversations on the panels they are leading.

Annemarie Bridy

Annemarie Bridy will be the Discussant for Neil Richards & William Smart’s paper How Should the Law Think About Robots? on Saturday, April 21 at the 8:45am at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Professor Bridy is an Associate Professor at the University of Idaho College of Law.  Professor Bridy received her J.D. from the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law, where she was a member of the Temple Law Review.  She also holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine.  She served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable William H. Yohn, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Honorable Dolores K. Sloviter of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Her work focuses on Internet and intellectual property law, with specific attention to the impact of disruptive technologies on existing frameworks for the protection of intellectual property and the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Mary Anne Franks

Mary Anne Franks will be the Discussant for Lisa Shay, Gregory Conti, Woodrow Hartzog, John Nelson, and Dominic Larkin’s paper Confronting Automated Law Enforcement on Saturday, April 21 at the 11:45am at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Professor Franks is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law.  Professor Franks received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she also taught courses in social theory and philosophy.  She holds a doctorate and Masters in Modern Languages and Literature from Oxford University in England, which she attended on a Rhodes Scholarship.  Prior to coming to Miami, Professor Franks was a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Samir Chopra will be the Discussant for F. Patrick Hubbard’s paper Regulation of Liability For Risks of Physical Injury From “Sophisticated Robots” on Saturday, April 21 at the 2:00pm at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Professor Chopra is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center and Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Brooklyn.  He has a Masters in Computer Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the City University of New York, Graduate School and University Center in New York.  Professor Chopra recently authored “A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents”, University of Michigan Press, 2011.

Ryan Calo

Ryan Calo will moderate the panel presentation “Social Issues in Robotics” on Saturday, April 21 at the 3:30pm at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Mr. Calo is Director of Privacy and Robotics for The Center for Internet and Society, a public interest technology law and policy program at Stanford Law School.  Mr. Calo received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  He served as a law clerk to the Honorable R. Guy Cole Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Mr. Calo will join the law faculty at the University of Washington this summer.

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Announcing the We Robot Bibliography Wiki

As part of the We Robot 2012 conference we have started a bibliography of scholarly writing relevant to the law and policy of robots.

Our wiki-based bibliography lists scholarly works that examine the role of robotics in society through the lenses of Ethics, Law, and Policy. It is not intended to list works devoted primarily to robotic technology.

Interest in Law and Robotics has spurred a diverse set of interdisciplinary material. A bibliography will make these interdisciplinary materials more accessible to everyone interested in the subject. We invite our conference attendees and anyone interested in law and policy issues relating to robotics to contribute citations to the We Robot Bibliography

Your contributions will help this resource be of value to policy-oriented and scholarly communities.

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Links to All the Papers for We Robot 2012

Here’s a handy hyperlinked list of all the downloadable papers for this weekend’s We Robot 2012 conference.

Day One

Day Two

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Oren Gross on “When Machines Kill: Criminal Responsibility for International Crimes Committed by Lethal Autonomous Robots”

Oren Gross

Warfare technology widens the human-technology gap in combat.  Human beings are becoming the weak link in the Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act Loop (OODA Loop) because of the increasing need to collect and process vast amounts of data.  The combat use of Lethal Autonomous Robots (LARs) is ushering in an era of de-humanized warfare, where human beings are less present in combat zones.  The tension between LAR autonomy and human accountability for war crimes raises legal, ethical, and policy concerns.  Professor Gross argues that current domestic and international criminal law is ill prepared to apportion human accountability in the event a LAR commits a war crime.  His paper proposes more effective methods for apportioning criminal responsibility in such situations.

Oren Gross will present When Machines Kill: Criminal Responsibility for International Crimes Committed by Lethal Autonomous Robots at the Military Robotics Panel Presentation on Sunday, April 22nd at 3:15pm at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Oren Gross is the Irving Younger Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he is also the Director of the Institute of International Legal & Security Studies.  He has a LL.M. and SJD from Harvard Law School and an LL.B. from Tel-Aviv University in Tel-Aviv, Israel.  Professor Gross is an internationally recognized expert in national security law, international law, and international trade.

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Announcing ‘Birds of a Feather’ Sessions for Saturday Dinner

We are covering a lot of ground at We Robot 2012. But the potential topics of exploration are even broader. We invite participants to propose and sign up to attend Saturday evening “birds of a feather” (BoF) sessions over dinner. Want to talk drones and privacy? Driverless cars? Something else entirely? Propose a session in comments to this entry. We’ll also have signup sheets at the conference on Saturday.

Here are some suggested restaurants in Coconut Grove (near the main conference hotel) at which you could plan to meet. Conference staff will be available to help with reservations once we have some idea of the level of interest.

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Markus Wagner on “The Dehumanization of International Humanitarian Law: Independently Operating Weapon System and Modern Armed Conflict”

Markus Wagner

Combat is changing, and more transformative changes loom in the horizon.  Today’s unmanned systems (UMSs) require human input to operate; however, the next generation of UMSs will operate with little to no human input.  Autonomous UMSs may fundamentally alter our relationship with International Humanitarian Law (IHL).  Markus Wagner’s paper explores the development of UMSs in three ways.  First, UMSs will have a dehumanizing effect on two IHL principles: distinction and proportionality.  Second, Wagner traverses the moral implications of this dehumanization.  For example, personal responsibility is a fundamental characteristic of IHL and acts as a deterrent for those who decide to deploy autonomous weapon systems (AWSs).  The widespread use of UMSs may dilute the deterrent effect of personal responsibility.  In response, Wagner explores possible ways of implementing personal responsibility into the design stage of AWSs.  Finally, he argues that the introduction of UMSs will lower the risk to human soldiers in combat, thereby, altering the risk calculus of engaging in combat.  As a result, militaries may be more willing to engage in combat.

Markus Wagner will present The Dehumanization of International Humanitarian Law: Independently Operating Weapon System and Modern Armed Conflict at the Military Robotics Panel Presentation on Sunday, April 22nd at 3:15pm at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Markus Wagner is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  He has a Masters of the Science of Law from Stanford Law School in Stanford, California and a J.D. from the University of Giessen Law School in Giessen, Germany.  Professor Wagner teaches courses in International Law, International Economic Law, Comparative Law, and a Miami-Leipzig Seminar in Leipzig, Germany.  His research interests focus on robotics and military technology as well as international trade law.

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Richard O’Meara on “The Intersection: The Rules of War and The Use of Unarmed, Remotely Operated, and Autonomous Robotics Systems Platform and Weapons… Some Cautions”

Richard O'meara

The German author Erich Maria Remarque once wrote that although the square is empty, it “would be madness to go farther—the machine-gun is covering the square.”  Robotic technology is poised to have a greater effect on warfare than the machinegun.  Robots will make human combatants more lethal and possibly take them out of combat.  Therefore, we need more than traditional rules of war when discussing when and how to use robots in combat.  Richard O’Meara’s paper begins such a discussion by observing that the technology used to control lethal robots has begun a period of drastic change.  Thus, any consensus reached today will become obsolete in less than a decade.  Next, O’Meara observes that 20th Century International Humanitarian Law (IHL) assumes that all parties have a utilitarian interest in diminishing collateral damage.  O’Meara argues that IHL is fairly irrelevant to the 21st Century because many modern combat forces have little interest in diminishing collateral damage.  Furthermore, the differences between manned and autonomous robots suggest that we should apply different rules to each.  In particular, the laws of war should not be stretched to accommodate the vast destructive potential of robots.

Richard O’Meara will present The Intersection: The Rules of War and The Use of Unarmed, Remotely Operated, and Autonomous Robotics Systems Platform and Weapons… Some Cautions at the Military Robotics Panel Presentation on Sunday, April 22nd at 3:15pm at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Dr. Richard O’Meara, Brigadier General, U.S.A. (Ret.) is Program Coordinator and Lecturer for the Homeland Security Studies Program at Ocean County College, in Toms River, New Jersey.  He has a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a Ph.D. in Global Affairs from Rutgers University.  Dr. O’Meara has served as an Adjunct Faculty Member at several universities around the country and is currently a Professor of Global and Homeland Security Affairs.

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Ian Kerr & Katie Szilagyi on “Asleep at the Switch? How Lethal Autonomous Robots Become a Force Multiplier of Military Necessity”

Ian Kerr

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) justifies the use of military force with a necessity/proportionality calculus, which weighs a military operation’s necessity against the harm resulting from carrying out that operation. Robotic warfare proponents believe the advanced sensory capabilities of machines will outperform human soldiers and save lives by reducing injustices in armed conflict by better and more consistently comporting with IHL norms.   Ian Kerr and Katie Szilagyi argue that Lethal Autonomous Robots (LARs) threaten to erode the IHL framework because the robotization of warfare permits us to redefine IHL norms. The authors illustrate how laws of war purport to the principle of technological

Katie Szilagyi

neutrality—the belief that general laws are superior to specific ones, and that forbidding the implementation of particular technologies is inappropriate.  They reject the application of this principle, arguing that we must consider approaches that contemplate the transformative effects of robotic military technologies.

Ian Kerr and Katie Szilagyi will present Asleep at the Switch? How Lethal Autonomous Robots Become a Force Multiplier of Military Necessity at the Military Robotics Panel Presentation on Sunday, April 22nd at 3:15pm at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Ian Kerr is a Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa, Canada, where he holds cross-appointments to the Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Philosophy.  He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a JD from Western University.  Dr. Kerr is the Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law & Technology.  Katie Szilagyi is a current J.D. candidate at the University of Ottawa, Canada.  She will clerk at the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa, Ontario in 2012-2013.  Her primary research interest is in legal responses to social and structural challenges created by new technologies.

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J Storrs Hall on “Machine Agency: a Philosophical and Technological Roadmap”

J. Storrs Hall

When a machine commits a moral or legal wrong, the universal governing standard attributes the fault to the machine’s designers and builders.  The more machines resemble and act like human beings, the more human status we assign them.  Today, we are at a precipice where machines are beginning to make decisions, which would imply legal and moral responsibilities if made by humans.  J. Storrs Hall notes that the learning component in machines is increasing as they rely more on experience and training than on programming.  He argues that in the near future, apportioning fault will present challenges because a machine’s wrongful actions will no longer be clearly attributable to its designers and builders.  Dr. Hall’s paper discusses the philosophical, architectural, and practical issues involved in assigning the role of moral agent to a machine.

J Storrs Hall will present Machine Agency: a Philosophical and Technological Roadmap on Sunday, April 22nd at 8:30am at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  J. Storrs Hall has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Rutgers University and published the first book on machine ethics.  He is an established author in the field of artificial general intelligence and was recently President of the Foresight Institute in Menlo Park, CA, a leading think tank focused on transformative technologies.  Dr. Hall was the founding Chief Scientist of Nanorex, Inc., a developer of open-source computational modeling tools for designing and analyzing atomically precise nanosystems.

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Our Hashtag: #WeRobot

If you are tweeting about We Robot 2012, please use our new hashtag: #WeRobot.

(For more about hashtags see Wikipedia.)

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