Ian Kerr and Jason Millar on “Delegation, Relinquishment and Responsibility: The Prospect of Expert Robots”

Ian Kerr

The success of IBM’s Watson (the “deep question answering” robot who defeated the two all-time Jeopardy champions) demonstrates our future temptation to rely on robotic predictions and expert systems instead of humans.  Watson-like medical diagnosticians and Google-like driverless vehicles are only the beginning.  If these robots perform well, they may become the preferred experts, forcing us to question whether humans should delegate tasks such as medical diagnosis and driving to expert robots.  Ian Kerr and Jason Millar’s paper explores important issues raised by the implementation of Watson-like robots, such as whether we can justify relinquishing control of highly specialized tasks to expert robots.  By exploring notions of

Jason Millar

expertise and evidence-based decision-making, which believes that an action that produces the most favorable outcome is the most justifiable, the authors canvas various legal and ethical approaches to determining responsibility when these advanced systems make mistakes.

Ian Kerr and Jason Millar will present Delegation, Relinquishment and Responsibility: The Prospect of Expert Robots on Sunday, April 22nd at 11:30am 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.  Jason Millar is a Philosophy Ph.D. candidate at Queen’s University in Canada.  He has a B.Sc. in Engineering Physics from Queen’s University, and teaches courses in Roboethics and Science Ethics.

Read full story

Amir Rahmani on, “Micro Aerial Vehicles: Opportunity or Liability”

Amir Rahmani

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) pose a number of legal and regulatory issues when operating in national airspace.  As a result, Congress tasked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with safely integrating UASs into our national airspace by 2014.  However, Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs), which are small to medium-sized UASs, present additional concerns because they do not qualify for the 2014 FAA integration.  Unlike UASs, MAVs are inexpensive, easy to obtain, and individuals with little technical knowledge can operate them.  Like UASs, MAVs can be easily equipped with a variety of sensors.  Amir Rahmani’s presentation focuses on the current state of MAVs—including their capabilities and the regulatory and legal challenges their suppliers face.  He will demonstrate a number of quad-copter MAVs at the We Robot Conference to facilitate dialogue.

Amir Rahmani will present Micro Aerial Vehicles: Opportunity or Liability on Sunday, April 22nd at 10:00am at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Amir Rahmani is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.  He received his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA.  Professor Rahmani collaborated with NASA JPL on enabling technologies for spacecraft formation flying and has designed a number of algorithms for operating teams of Unmanned Arial Vehicles for Boeing Phantom-Works and Rockwell Collins, Inc.

Read full story

Sinziana Gutiu on “Sex Robots and Roboticization of Consent”

Sinziana Gutiu

Technology profoundly affects the way humans interact with each other, especially in the most intimate spheres of life.   It is therefore important for humans to consider the effect female-sexbots will have on male-female interactions.   Sinziana Gutiu’s paper states that male interactions with female-sexbots will dehumanize sex and intimacy in male-female relationships.  Her paper argues that three levels of harm arise as a result of human-sexbot interaction.  First, sexbots will socially alienate users by impeding their ability to form human relationships.  Second, they will dehumanize women by promoting rape fantasies.  Lastly, male exposure to female sexbots will erode the need for consent in male-female sexual interactions.  Ms. Gutiu will also discuss the potential legal implications of sex robots and potential regulation.

Sinziana Gutiu will present Sex Robots and Roboticization of Consent on Saturday, April 21st at the 3:30pm “Social Issues in Robotics” Panel Presentation at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Sinziana Gutiu is a J.D. candidate at the University of Ottawa.  She holds a B.A. in Criminology from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.  Sinziana is interested in the legal consequences of emerging technologies, with a particular focus on human rights, privacy and human computer interaction.  Following the completion of her degree, Ms. Gutiu will work at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Read full story

Kristen Thomasen on “Liar Liar Pants on Fire! Examining the Constitutionality of Enhanced Robo-Interrogation”

Kristen Thomasen

The combination of human-computer interaction (“HCI”) technology with sensors that monitor human physiological responses offers state agencies improved methods for extracting truthful information from suspects during interrogations.  These technologies have recently been deployed in the form of automated kiosks, where an individual interacts with an avatar interrogator.  The HCI system uses a combination of visual, auditory, near-infrared and other sensors to monitor a suspect’s eye movements, voice, and various other qualities.  The information is then aggregated and analyzed to determine deception.  Kristen Thomasen argues that this type of application poses serious risks to individual rights—such as privacy, the right to silence, and the right to silence.  Her paper explores possible solutions and suggests that courts, HCI technology developers, and state agencies institute limits on how this emerging technology obtains and uses information.

Kristen Thomasen will present Liar Liar Pants on Fire! Examining the Constitutionality of Enhanced Robo-Interrogation on Saturday, April 21st at the 3:30pm “Social Issues in Robotics” Panel Presentation at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Kristen Thomasen is currently a J.D. 2012 candidate at the University of Ottawa, Ontario.  She has a M.A. in International Affairs from Carleton University in Ottawa and a B.A. in Anthropology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.  Miss Thomasen co-founded the Women’s Legal Mentorship Program.  In 2010, she co-presented with University of Ottawa Professor Ian Kerr, whom she presently works for as a Research Assistant, on “Facebook and a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy”.

Read full story

Suneil M. Thomas on “Liquid Robots”

Suneil M. Thomas

Suneil M. Thomas, Esq, is General Counsel and Vice President of Government Affairs for Liquid Robotics Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.  Prior to joining Liquid Robots Inc., Mr. Thomas worked as Director of Special Projects for The Nature Conservancy and was an attorney with Pillsbury Winthrop and Ellman Burke.  He received his J.D. from Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, California and is a member of the California State Bar Association.

Mr. Thomas will speak on the legal complexities of marine robotics, including, intellectual property, taxation, and export control on Saturday, April 21 at the 10:15am at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.

Read full story

Lisa A. Shay, Gregory Conti, Woodrow Hartzog, John Nelson, & Dominic Larkin on “Confronting Automated Law Enforcement”

Lisa Shay

Automated law enforcement will be an expanding option for law enforcement and allow for the meticulous enforcement of laws, while reducing manpower requirements.  The authors examine the ways automated law enforcement can be applied to current and future police and government practice.  They propose an analytic framework for analyzing new technologies as they weigh the effects

Woody Hartzog

of law enforcement automation on police efficiency against personal and societal costs.  Their framework incorporates: (1) the subject being monitored, (2) the law enforcement agencies that conduct surveillance, analysis, and enforcement, and (3) a judicial system that determines guilt and imposes punishment.  Automation in any of these areas triggers the considerations covered in the paper.

Professors Lisa A. Shay and Woodrow Hartzog will present Confronting Automated Law Enforcement on Saturday, April 21st at 11:45am at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Col. Lisa A. Shay is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY.  She has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master’s Degree in Engineering from Cambridge University where she studied as a Marshall Scholar.  Woodrow Hartzog is an Assistant Professor at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.  He has a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an LL.M in Intellectual Property from George Washington University Law School, and a J.D. from Samford University.  Col. Gregory Conti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the US Military Academy at West Point.  He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is Senior Member of the Association for Computing Machinery.  Col. John Nelson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Philosophy at the US Military Academy at West Point.  He has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington.  Maj. Dominic Larkin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the US Military Academy at West Point.  He has a M.S. from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. from Troy State University, all in Computer Science.

Read full story

Patrick Hubbard on “Regulation of Liability for Risks of Physical Injury From ‘Sophisticated Robots’”

Patrick Hubbard

Current trends indicate that “sophisticated robots,” with higher intelligence and autonomy than current robots, will be developed for use in public areas like parks and highways as well as in homes, offices, and care facilities.  Professor Hubbard summarizes the current legal system for addressing physical injuries from robots and addresses possible impacts on this system as a result of sophisticated robots.  His paper predicts how sophisticated robots will affect existing contract and tort regimes and how these regimes will be used for imposing liability and determining regulation.  In addition, Professor Hubbard addresses proposals for fostering innovation in sophisticated robots and providing a fair, efficient allocation of liability for injuries caused by these robots, such as the following: (1) development of uniform, national standards for design and use, (2) adoption of regulatory schemes, (3) use of preemption with national regulatory systems, and (4) subsidies to developers of sophisticated robots.

Patrick Hubbard will present Regulation of Liability For Risks of Physical Injury From “Sophisticated Robots” on Saturday, April 21 at 2:00pm at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Hubbard is a Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law.  He has a J.D. from New York University Law School, an LL.M. from Yale Law School, and has practiced law in Texas, New York, and South Carolina.  He is the author of “The South Carolina Law of Torts” (4th ed. 2011) and recently published an article on personhood and Artificial Intelligence in Temple Law Review.

Read full story

Kate Darling on, “Extending Legal Rights to Social Robots”

Kate Darling

The practice of assigning rights to non-human entities is not new.  We assign rights to certain animals because of our inherent desire to protect things we care about.  Kate Darling’s paper argues that our willingness to protect animals partly results from us projecting our emotions onto them.  She explores whether this inherent inclination to anthropomorphically relate to animals—to attribute human qualities, such as cognition and emotions—will translate to autonomous robots.  Using past anthropomorphic practices, Darling discusses how our legal system could address our probable inclination to extend second-order rights to robots.

Kate Darling will present Extending Legal Rights to Social Robots on Saturday, April 21st at the 3:30pm “Social Issues in Robotics” Panel Presentation at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Kate Darling is a Research Specialist at MIT Media Lab and is getting her Ph.D. in Intellectual Property from ETH Zurich, Switzerland.  She co-taught a course at Harvard Law School titled, “Rights for Robots” with Professor Lawrence Lessig in 2011.

Read full story

Neil Richards and William Smart on “How Should the Law Think About Robots?”

This is the first of a series of announcements we’ll be running about the upcoming presentations at We Robot 2012. Check back regularly for updates, subscribe to the We Robot 2012 RSS feed or follow We Robot 2012 on Twitter.

Neil Richards

Robots will soon enter the market in large numbers, and the legal system 
needs to prepare for the challenge.  Professors Richards and Smart argue
 that how we conceptualize robots—the metaphors we use to understand and
 relate to them—shapes the way we might design them as engineers and 
regulate them as lawyers.  They argue that the problem is one of imagination—the imagination of 
designers and regulators—and how best to blend those two very different 
ways of thinking through problems. Thinking about robots in different ways—whether as tools, pets, servants, or family members—will affect how they are built and how the law recognizes them.

William Smart

Richards and Smart will present How Should the Law Think About Robots? on Saturday, April 21st at 8:45am at We Robot 2012 at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida.  Neil M. Richards is a Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis and author of numerous law review articles.  He clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist during President Clinton’s impeachment trial.  William D. Smart is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.  He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Brown University in Providence, RI, and his current research centers on human-robot interactions.

Read full story

We Robot Program Announced

The proposals for We Robot 2012 exceeded all our expectations in both number and quality, which has allowed us to put together a very exciting event. Registration is now open.

In order to accommodate more presenters we’ve made some small alterations to the format: In addition to the planned presentations we’ve grouped sets of papers that seemed to have common themes into two panels: Social issues in Robotics, and Military Robots. Here’s the tentative schedule [UPDATE--Please note that amendments to the schedule are not reflected in this post; for the latest schedule information please see the actual Program]:

We Robot 2012: Setting the Agenda
April 21–22, 2012
University of Miami School of Law

Saturday, April 21st

8:00am
Registration and Breakfast

8:30am
Welcome
Vice Dean Patrick O. Gudridge, University of Miami School of Law

8:35am
Introductory Remarks
A. Michael Froomkin
, Program Chair

8:45am
How Should The Law Think About Robots?
Neil Richards & William Smart
Discussant: Annemarie Bridy

10:00am
Break

10:15am
Liquid Robotics
Suneil Thomas

11:30am
Break

11:45am
Confronting Automated Law Enforcement
Lisa Shay, Gregory Conti, Woodrow Hartzog, John Nelson & Dominic Larkin
Discussant: Mary Anne Franks

1:00pm
Lunch

2:00pm
Regulation of Liability For Risks of Physical Injury From “Sophisticated Robots”
F. Patrick Hubbard
Discussant: Samir Chopra

3:15pm
Break

3:30pm
Panel Presentation: Social Issues in Robotics
Moderator: Ryan Calo

  • Extending Legal Rights to Robots Based on Anthromorphism, Kate Darling
  • Sex Robots and Roboticization of Consent, Sinziana Gutiu
  • We Robot: Setting Up The Legal And Social Framework for “Robocalisation”, Olivier Lecomte & Francois Xavier Albouy
  • Liar Liar Pants on Fire! Examining the Constitutionality of Enhanced Robo-Interrogation, Kristen Thomasen

5:00pm
Reception
To be held in Student Lounge & Courtyard

6:00pm
End of First Day

Sunday, April 22nd

8:00am
Registration and Breakfast

8:30am
Machine Agency
Josh Storrs Hall
Discussant: Peter Asaro

9:45am
Break

10:00am
Micro Aerial Vehicles: Opportunity Or Liability
Amir Rahmani

11:15am
Break

11:30am
Delegation, Relinquishment and Responsibility: The Prospect of Robot Experts
Ian Kerr & Jason Millar
Discussant: A. Michael Froomkin

12:45pm
Lunch 

Lunch-time break-out: The Future of We Robot
A. Michael Froomkin
& Committee of the Whole

1:45pm
Work-in-Progress Presentation: Open Roboethics: Establishing an Online Community for Accelerated Policy and Design Change
Ajung Moon, Ergun Calisgan, Fiorella Operto, Gianmarco Veruggio & H.F. Machiel Van der Loos

3:00pmm
Break

3:15pm
Panel Presentation: Military Robotics
Moderator: Bernard H. Oxman

  • When Machines Kill: Criminal Responsibility for International Crimes Committed by Lethal Autonomous Robots, Oren Gross
  • Asleep at the Switch? How Mechanical Mercenaries Might Re-Program International Humanitarian Legal Norms, Ian Kerr & Katie Szilagyi
  • 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 Dehumanization of International Humanitarian Law: Independently Operating Weapon System and Modern Armed Conflict, Markus Wagner

4:45
Final Remarks

Read full story