Dr. Asaro is Associate Professor in the School of Media Studies at the New School in New York City. He is the co-founder of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, and has written on lethal robotics from the perspective of just war theory and human rights. Dr. Asaro's research also examines agency and autonomy, liability and punishment, and privacy and surveillance as it applies to consumer robots, industrial automation, smart buildings, aerial drones and autonomous vehicles.
Amazon, the company synonymous with online shopping, is supplying facial recognition technology to government and law enforcement agencies over its web services platform. Branded Rekognition, the technology is every bit as dystopian as it sounds.
Should Google, a global company with intimate access to the lives of billions, use its technology to bolster one country’s military dominance? Should it use its state of the art artificial intelligence technologies, its best engineers, its cloud computing services, and the vast personal data that it collects to contribute to programs that advance the development of autonomous weapons?
The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) at the UN has just concluded a second round of meetings on lethal autonomous weapons systems in Geneva, under the auspices of what is known as a Group of Governmental Experts. Both the urgency and significance of the discussions in that forum have been heightened by the rising concerns over artificial intelligence (AI) arms races and the increasing use of digital technologies to subvert democratic processes.
I have been asked by Science & Film to review the realism of EYE IN THE in terms of the new technologies we see deployed in the film. Most of the technologies employed in the film narrative have some basis in reality, though many are still in very early stages, or proof-of-concept, and remain far from the reliable and useful technologies depicted in the film.
Last week the Future of Life Institute released a letter signed by some 1,500 artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and technology researchers. Among them were celebrities of science and the technology industry—Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak—along with public intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Daniel Dennett. The letter called for an international ban on offensive autonomous weapons, which could target and fire weapons without meaningful human control.
"Peter Asaro, associate professor of media studies at the New School in New York, coauthored a letter that echoed the demands of Google's protesting employees. Asaro said maybe it's time to conceive of a new and modern labor union.
"Peter Asaro, vice chairman of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, said this week that Google's backing off from the project was good news because it slows down a potential AI arms race over autonomous weapons systems. What's more, letting the contract expire was fundamental to Google's business model, which relies on gathering mass amounts of user data, he said.
"They're a company that's very much aware of their image in the public conscious," he said. "They want people to trust them and trust them with their data.""
"The principles about surveillance were not specific enough, according to Peter Asaro, an associate professor at The New School who organized a letter from academics against Project Maven.
"The international norms surrounding espionage, cyberoperations, mass information surveillance, and even drone surveillance are all contested and debated in the international sphere," he said. "Ultimately, how the company enacts these principles is what will matter more than statements such as this.""
"Pichai's pledge regarding weapons was "really strong," Peter Asaro, associate professor of media studies at the New School in New York, told Business Insider. Asaro coauthor a letter to Google's managementlast month, signed by hundreds of academics and researchers, demanding that Google cease developing military technologies as well as calling for a ban on authonomous weapons.
"“While Google’s statement rejects building AI systems for information gathering and surveillance that violates internationally accepted norms, we are concerned about this qualification,” said Peter Asaro, a professor at The New School and one of the authors of an open letter that calls on Google to cancel its Maven contract.
CIS Affiliate Scholars Peter Asaro, Ryan Calo and Woodrow Hartzog will all be participating in this two-day conference.
Registration is open for We Robot 2015 and we have a great program planned:
Friday, April 10
Registration and Breakfast
Welcome Remarks: Dean Kellye Testy, University of Washington School of Law
Introductory Remarks: Ryan Calo, Program Committee Chair
For more information visit: https://citp.princeton.edu/event/lunch-timer-asaro-tang/
Location: Bowl 001, Robertson Hall
Food and discussion begin at 12:15 pm. Open to current Princeton faculty, fellows and students only. RSVP required. Co-sponsored with WWS and LAPA.
CIS Affiliate Scholars Peter Asaro, Ryan Calo and Woodrow Hartzog are listed as participants for We Robot 2014. Robotics is becoming a transformative technology. We Robot 2014 builds on existing scholarship exploring the role of robotics to examine how the increasing sophistication 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. If you are on the front lines of robot theory, design, or development, we hope to see you.
The motion under debate will be:“Should there be an absolute ban on autonomous systems capable of using lethal force?” Two key speakers will argue for and against the motion, and respond to each other’s presentation. This will be followed by a discussion session with the audience, and a public vote.
As technology speeds forward, humans are beginning to imagine the day when robots will fill the roles promised to us in science fiction. But what should we be thinking about TODAY, as robots like military and delivery drones become a real part of our society? How should robots be programmed to interact with us? How should we treat robots? And who is responsible for a robot's actions? As we look at the unexpected impact of new technologies, we are obligated as a society to consider the moral and ethical implications of robotics.