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 don’t know that generativity is a theory, strictly speaking. It’s more of a quality. (Specifically, five qualities.) The attendant theory, as I read it, is that technology exhibits these particular, highly desirable qualities as a function of specific incentives. These incentives are themselves susceptible to various forces—including, it turns out, consumer demand and citizen fear.
The law is in a position to influence this dynamic. Thus, for instance, Comcast might have a business incentive to slow down peer-to-peer traffic and only refrain due to FCC policy. Or, as Barbara van Schewick demonstrates inter alia in Internet Architecture and Innovation, a potential investor may lack the incentive to fund a start up if there is a risk that the product will be blocked.
Similarly, online platforms like Facebook or Yahoo! might not facilitate communication to the same degree in the absence of Section 230 immunity for fear that they will be held responsible for the thousand flowers they let bloom. I agree with Eric Goldman’s recent essay in this regard: it is no coincidence that the big Internet players generally hail from these United States. Read more » about Will Robots Be 'Generative'?
Prohibition wasn’t working. President Hoover assembled the Wickersham Commission to investigate why. The Commission concluded that despite an historic enforcement effort—including the police abuses that made the Wickersham Commission famous—the government could not stop everyone from drinking. Many people, especially in certain city neighborhoods, simply would not comply. The Commission did not recommend repeal at this time, but by 1931 it was just around the corner.
Five years later an American doctor working in a chemical plant made a startling discovery. Several workers began complaining that alcohol was making them sick, causing most to stop drinking it entirely—“involuntary abstainers,” as the doctor, E.E. Williams, later put it. It turns out they were in contact with a chemical called disulfiram used in the production of rubber. Disulfiram is well-tolerated and water-soluble. Today, it is marketed as the popular anti-alcoholism drug Antabuse.
Were disulfiram discovered just a few years earlier, would federal law enforcement have dumped it into key parts of the Chicago or Los Angeles water supply to stamp out drinking for good? Probably not. It simply would not have occurred to them. No one was regulating by architecture then. To dramatize this point: when New York City decided twenty years later to end a string of garbage can thefts by bolting the cans to the sidewalk, the decision made the front page of the New York Times. The headline read: “City Bolts Trash Baskets To Walks To End Long Wave Of Thefts.”
In an important but less discussed chapter in The Future of the Internet, Jonathan Zittrain explores our growing taste and capacity for “perfect enforcement."
Readers are likely familiar with the cyberlaw mantra that “code is law.” What’s striking is that since Lawrence Lessig published Code in 1999, relatively little has been written about the dangers of regulation by architecture, particularly outside of the context of intellectual property. Many legal scholars—Neil Katyal, Elizabeth Joh, Edward Cheng—have instead argued for more regulation by architecture on the basis that it is less discriminatory or more effective. Read more » about (Im)Perfect Enforcement
My new paper explores what is unique about privacy harm. How does privacy harm differ from other injury? And what do we gain by defining its boundaries and core properties? You can download the paper here; abstract after the jump. Your thoughts warmly welcome. Read more » about The Boundaries of Privacy Harm
ACM Computers Freedom Privacy is in its 20th year. This year was exciting to me in that robots entered the mix. My panel on the topic featured forecaster and essayist Paul Saffo, EFF's Brad Templeton, philosopher Patrick Lin, and was moderated by Wired's Gary Wolf. You can find a video recording of our panel here. I also spoke to the Dr. Katherine Albrecht Radio Show, which was broadcasting live from the conference. Click here to listen.
UPDATE: Facebook explains the security procedure here. Apparently they only use photos if you have not set up another verification means. Also, I have confirmation that the photo identification is not being done for a secondary purpose.
I recently tried to sign on to Facebook from a coffee shop. I was told that I had to pass a security screening because of the "strange location." Fair enough. The actual test, however, was surprising. It was comprised of a multiple choice exam where I had to identify who was in a given picture.
A couple of things. First, some of the pictures were embarrassing. I doubt the person who uploaded them thought they would be used to screen for improper access. Think about it. Facebook is showing random private photos to people because it suspects they may not be the account holder. The photos must be private because they form the basis of a security screening. Read more » about Facebook's Security Screening
Ex Machina opens this weekend. Its director, Alex Garland of 28 Days Later acclaim, appeared on Marketplace today to discuss the role of artificial intelligence in the film. Read more » about What Ex Machina's Alex Garland Gets Wrong About Artificial Intelligence
The Federal Aviation Administration announced its proposal this morning for what rules should govern small unmanned aerial systems, meaning drones 55 pounds or lighter. We do not know how long it will take for the rules to go into effect. When they do, the new rules will permit vastly more drone use in the United States, bringing us closer into line with other countries where drones can be commercially operated today. Read more » about How The FAA's Proposed Drone Rules Will Affect What You Care About
We are not ready for driverless cars because our public officials lack the expertise to evaluate the safety of this new class of automobiles. Read more » about A New Regulatory Agency for Autonomous Technology Is Needed First
It is always fun, and sometimes worrying, to see imagination come to life. I was on a panel last year at UC Berkeley around robotics and law. We talked about some of the conundrums robots and artificial intelligence might pose for law and policy–the subject of my forthcoming work Robotics and the Lessons of Cyberlaw. One hypothetical involved a shopping “bot” that randomly purchases items on the Internet. Read more » about A Robot Really Committed A Crime: Now What?
"The FAA’s planned rule “is going to be a serious limiter,” said Ryan Calo, a University of Washington law professor who studies robotics policy. “If they were going to have one pilot for each drone, they might as well put someone on a bicycle and send them over to your house.”" Read more » about Those Amazon Delivery Drones? Not So Fast
"Ryan Calo, an assistant law professor at the University of Washington, said many states sold, rented or granted access to criminal records and other information to third-party data brokers.
“If a juvenile commits a crime but doesn’t reoffend, they might have the right to get the state’s record sealed or expunged,” Mr. Calo said. “But the user doesn’t have the same right to access when it comes to the data broker.”" Read more » about Profiles in Online Identity Cleansing
"“It’s one thing for a human to steer her car off a cliff and quite another thing for a machine to make that choice,” Lin says. “It’s also one thing for pedestrians to be struck by a car whose driver made a bad reflexive decision and quite another thing for them to be struck because the robot car was programmed deliberately to target them or put them at greater risk. Setting expectations can help with some of this, but probably not all.”" Read more » about Your Car May Be Programmed to Kill You — and 9 More Fun Facts About Self-Driving Vehicles
"“In many jurisdictions you could literally walk past a drowning person, do nothing and not be liable,” said Ryan Calo, a UW professor specializing in Internet law.
He says that Facebook and Twitter are making efforts far beyond what they must do.
“They have hundreds of people looking at posts, around the clock, and are taking pretty robust steps to reach out,” he said. “I think this is something that they actually do pretty well.”" Read more » about Marysville deaths show need to reach troubled teens online
"Ryan Calo, a professor at the University of Washington School of Law, said the online stratagems are reminiscent of more commonly accepted police tactics - - like a detective lying to a suspect during a murder investigation or posing as a fictional child online to nab sexual predators - - but in this case they go too far.
“It’s very common for law enforcement to work with informants, use deceptions in order to catch criminals but there’s a difference between misrepresenting something about the world and taking over a real person’s identity,” he said." Read more » about FBI Impersonated Seattle Times To Spy On Bomb-Threat Suspect
For more information visit the University of Chicago Law School website.
National Security: The Impact of Technology on the Separation of Powers Read more » about National Security: The Impact of Technology on the Separation of Powers
8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast and Registration
9:00 – 9:15 a.m.
Welcome and Opening Remarks Read more » about Taking Responsibility for One’s Own Data Privacy and Security–Is it Possible, and How?
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? Read more » about Open Data: Addressing Privacy, Security, and Civil Rights Challenges
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
9:00 am Read more » about We Robot 2015
Date/Time: Wednesday, March 25, 12:00 p.m.
Location: Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA
A Brave New Era? Or, Back to the Future? Are we in 1934? 1993? Or, 2015? The FCC’s order on the open internet – What did the FCC really do and what will it mean for internet service providers, online music and video companies, e-commerce companies, transit providers and consumers? Read more » about Pacific Northwest Chapter Luncheon
Listen to the full interview at Marketplace Tech.
"Calo recently signed an open letter that detailed his and others’ concerns over AI’s rapid progress. The letter was published by the Future of Life Institute, a research organization studying the potential risks posed by AI. The letter has since been endorsed by scientists, CEOs, researchers, students and professors connected to the tech world. Read more » about A responsible approach to artificial intelligence
Listen to the full interview with Ryan Calo at BBC The Inquiry.
Billions of dollars are pouring into the latest investor craze: artificial intelligence. But serious scientists like Stephen Hawking have warned that full AI could spell the end of the human race. How seriously should we take the warnings that ever-smarter computers could turn on us? Our expert witnesses explain the threat, the opportunities and how we might avoid being turned into paperclips. Read more » about Should We Fear Artificial Intelligence?
""One of the problems with the capability of a company to personalize the terms on which is offers you services and the price is this information asymmetry. You don’t know when they’re doing it," says Ryan Calo, a University of Washington law professor who studies privacy rights."
Listen to the full piece at Marketplace. Read more » about Want the best price online? Good luck with that.
"Ryan Calo, Assistant Law Professor at the University of Washington and an affiliate scholar at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, joined us to talk about his vision for a commission compromised of technologists, engineers, and scientists:
“I don’t know that we need a Federal Robotics Commission exactly as I’ve described it, but what we do need is to start thinking more systematically about robotics law and policy.”" Read more » about An argument for a federal robotics commission