Ryan Calo is an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law and a former research director at CIS. A nationally recognized expert in law and emerging technology, Ryan's work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Wired Magazine, and other news outlets. Ryan serves on several advisory committees, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the Future of Privacy Forum. He co-chairs the American Bar Association Committee on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence and serves on the program committee of National Robotics Week.
I'm very happy to announce National Robotics Week, an effort by leading robotics companies, research universities, museums, and others to raise awareness of U.S. robotics. In this inaugural year, NRW will take place all over the country April 10 through 18, including three great events in the Bay Area.
PS: The NRW logo is available under a Creative Commons license.
Jonathan Zittrain and Elizabeth Stark invite you to follow along with "Difficult Problems in Cyberlaw," an innovative course at Stanford involving students from three leading schools. Details for the course---including a wiki and Twitter---below. I'm appearing as a guest on January 12.
"In the coming three weeks, students from Harvard, MIT, and Stanford will be tackling real-life problems of Internet commerce, governance, security, and information dissemination at Stanford Law School. This course, Difficult Problems in Cyberlaw, covers the Global Network Initiative, ubiquitous human computing, the future of Wikipedia, and cybersecurity, and is co-taught by Jonathan Zittrain and Elizabeth Stark."
I’m in the middle of writing a paper on liability for harm caused by (or with) personal robots. The paper grows out of a panel that Dan Siciliano and I organized around the present, near future, and far future of robotics and the law. I’ve recently received some media coverage that, while welcome and accurate, presents a danger of oversimplifying my position. Specifically, a few people have understood my remarks to suggest that manufacturers should enjoy total immunity for the personal robots they build and sell, merely because doing otherwise would chill innovation.
This post develops my position in a little more detail. On my view, robotics manufacturers should be immune from certain theories of civil liability—particularly those premised on the range of a robot’s functionality. I don’t believe that the law should bar accountability for roboticists in all instances. Nor am I by any means certain that my suggestion represents the exact right way to handle liability. But I am convinced that we should talk about the issue. The alternative is to risk missing out on a massive global advance in technology capable of substantially better our world.
The ACLU of Northern California has officially launched dotRights, a comprehensive set of materials and tools to learn about, and act upon, privacy and free speech on the Internet. Complete with an interactive village covering topics from cloud computing to e-book privacy, this website and campaign represent a game-changing resource for anyone (company, activist, regulator, or consumer) who cares about privacy and free speech on the Internet. Congratulations and great work!
PS: You can follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
NO: It Is the Way to Kill Innovation
By Ryan Calo
The year is 1910. Orville and Wilbur Wright are testing their plane and happen to fly hundreds of feet over a stretch of land you own. Could you sue them?
Technically, you could. In 1910, your property rights extended ad coelum et ad inferos—up to heaven and down to hell. Anyone who flew over your property without permission was trespassing.
I am a law professor who writes about robotics. I’m also a big Paolo Bacigalupi fan, particularly his breakout novel The Windup Girl involving an artificial girl. So for me, “Mika Model” was not entirely new territory. For all my familiarity with its themes, however, Bacigalupi’s story revealed an important connection in robotics law that had never before occurred to me.
"According to University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo, the situation doesn’t give rise to any new legal issues, but is unsettling for a different reason: We are okay with cops using lethal force in a justified situation, but we expect them to do so in a familiar way—with firearms. The use of an improvised robot bomb is unsettling in the same way as if the cops had used a knife or dropped an anvil on the shooter.
"“It is essentially a jury-rigged version of a drone strike,” Ryan Calo, a University of Washington School of Law professor specializing in cyber and robotic law, told me. “If they would have been justified in throwing a grenade, then they’re likely justified in doing this, which was quite frankly a creative thing.”
"“No court would find a legal problem here,” said Ryan Calo, a professor at the University of Washington law school. “When someone is an ongoing lethal danger, there isn’t an obligation on the part of officers to put themselves in harm’s way.”"
"Today we learned the Dallas police used a bomb disposal robot to deliver and detonate an explosion, killing the suspect in last night's shooting. It was surprising, and shocking, and left me with a lot of questions. But, really, there's only one question: is this ethical?
"The way the robot was used in the Dallas case is likely legally no different from sending an officer in to shoot a hostile suspect, according to University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo.
Still, the Dallas Police Department's decision to use the unit in this way could have a major effect on how the public views the increasing integration of robots into daily life, he said.
U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing on Wednesday, November 16, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. entitled “Exploring Augmented Reality.” The hearing will examine the emergence, benefits, and implications of augmented reality technologies. Unlike virtual reality that creates a wholly simulated reality, augmented reality attempts to superimpose images and visual data on the physical world in an intuitive way.
• Mr. Brian Blau, Research Vice President, Gartner
The University of Washington School of Law is delighted to announce a public workshop on the law and policy of artificial intelligence, co-hosted by the White House and UW’s Tech Policy Lab. The event places leading artificial intelligence experts from academia and industry in conversation with government officials interested in developing a wise and effective policy framework for this increasingly important technology. The event is free and open to the public but requires registration. -
CIS Affilate Scholar Ryan Calo wil be part of a panel titled "Understanding the Implications of Open Data".
How can open data promote trust in government without creating a transparent citizenry?
The University of Washington School of Law is delighted to announce a public workshop on the law and policy of artificial intelligence, co-hosted by the White House and UW’s Tech Policy Lab. The event places leading artificial intelligence experts from academia and industry in conversation with government officials interested in developing a wise and effective policy framework for this increasingly important technology.
Simon Jack reports from Seattle on robots at work. From the Boeing factory where robots make planes to a clothes shop where a robot helps him buy a new pair of jeans. Plus Ryan Calo, professor of law at the University of Washington, grapples with the question of who to blame when robots go wrong, and whether there is such a thing as robot rights.
There are a million ways people might use drones in the future, from deliveries and police work to journalism. But in this episode, we’re going to talk about consumer drones — something that you or I might use for ourselves. What does the world look like when everybody with a smart phone also has a drone?
"“We don’t need to get to this crazy world in which robots are trying to take over in order for there to be really difficult, interesting complex legal questions,” says Ryan Calo, professor of law at the University of Washington, “That’s happening right now.”
Here’s a sample:
“How do we make sure these drones are not recording things that they shouldn’t," Calo says, "and those things aren’t winding up .... on Amazon servers,or somehow getting out to the public or to law enforcement?"