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
I am proud to say that I helped found the Robot Block Party in Silicon Valley. Now in its fifth year, the event brings together industry, academia, and the hobbyist community to demo robots in celebration of National Robotics Week. We held the first one in Paul Brest Hall at Stanford Law School. The second, third, and fourth Robot Block Parties took place nearby at the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab (where Stanford University develops driverless cars). Each event drew at least a thousand visitors. Read more » about Even (Some) Law Firms Think Robots Are The Next Big Thing
"Law professor Ryan Calo believes that robots are soon going to constitute a more abrupt departure from the technologies that preceded them than did the Internet from personal computers and telephones. Robotic technology is changing so fast, with such significant implications, that he believes the federal government is ill equipped to regulate the society we'll soon be living in. Hence his Friday pitch to an Aspen Ideas Festival crowd: a new federal agency to regulate robots." Read more » about Is America Incapable of Regulating Robots?
"Over at Slate, business reporter Jordan Weissmann assesses the bigger picture and offers advice for law school fence-sitters: Apply to law school now.
The argument advanced by Mr. Weissmann is one that’s slowly gaining currency among legal education observers.
University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo expressed similar optimism in an article for Forbes last fall." Read more » about Are Law Schools Heading into a Bull Market?
"Ryan Calo, an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law who specializes in robotics and drones, told me that the worry about drones colliding in the air, or people being hit by them, will start to ease as drones become smarter.
“The next generation of drones, which are truly autonomous and can navigate using sensors and code, rather than people controlling them, will be much safer than the drones we’re seeing today,” Mr. Calo said in a phone interview." Read more » about Delivery Drones Grounded by F.A.A.
"Laws has to keep up with new technologies, and Ryan Calo has his eye on robot legalities, particularly with respect to policy and ethics.
For example, Calo was quoted in this New York Times piece titled "When Driverless Cars Break The Law." Spoiler alert: it's complicated. "Criminal law is going to be looking for a guilty mind, a particular mental state — should this person have known better? If you’re not driving the car, it’s going to be difficult," he said." Read more » about The Most Important People Working In Robotics Today
"But Ryan Calo, an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law, who specializes in robotics and drones, said the accidents that were occurring from private use of drones would become less common as the vehicles became safer and more autonomous. For now, fly with caution.
“From a product liability standpoint, it’s pretty straightforward,” he said. “You buy this thing, you fly it, it’s likely your fault if something goes wrong.”" Read more » about Smile! A Drone Is About to Take Your Picture
For more information and to RSVP visit The New America Foundation's website. Webcast also available.
CIS Affiliate Scholar Ryan Calo part of panel titled "Delivery Drones and Robot Babysitters". Read more » about Can We Imagine Our Way to a Better Future?
Roundtable with experts Professor Ronald C. Arkin, Professor Ryan Calo, Dr. Kate Darling, Professor Illah Nourbakhsh, and Professor Noel Sharkey
Moderated by Professor Jennifer Urban
Friday, July 11, 3:30 pm
Boalt Hall Goldberg Room
Robots are quickly moving out of controlled environments into public spaces and homes, and researchers are developing artificial intelligence systems that will allow robots to make decisions autonomously. How should society plan for this transition? Read more » about Our Robot Future: The Moral, Ethical, and Legal Challenges of Ubiquitous Robotic Systems
Humans and Machines — Drones, Phones, and Robotic Friends: Where is Emergent Technology Taking Us? On June 27 at 8:30 p.m. with speakers Mary “Missy” Cummings, Ryan Calo, Ken Goldberg and moderator David Kirkpatrick.
As the landscape of high tech is increasingly modernized through applications of robotics from operating theaters to rescue missions, smarter phones that manage our lives, and flying technologies that put cameras (and weapons) in the air (if not everywhere), how will the balance of law, ethics, and relationships between humans and machines change us? Read more » about Drones, Phones, and Robotic Friends: Where is Emergent Technology Taking Us?
2013 PRIVACY PAPERS FOR POLICY MAKERS
The Future of Privacy Forum
Co-chairs Jules Polonetsky and Christopher Wolf
in conjunction with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee invite you to
“Privacy Papers for Policy Makers”
A discussion of leading privacy research Read more » about Privacy Papers for Policy Makers
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. Read more » about We Robot 2014
"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
The era of cloud computing has introduced unprecedented computing power and convenience to the way we work and live. But the privacy laws that protect the content we stored in the cloud are nearly 30 years old, and were written during a time when the today’s capabilities couldn’t possibly have been anticipated. As a result, technology has emerged that does not fit within the constraints defined by the law.
This podcast features an interview with Ryan Calo, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Washington. Read more » about ECPA Limitations: Privacy Law and the Cloud
Listen to the full interview at Marketplace Tech.
"It was about consumer convenience," says Ryan Calo, a professor of internet and privacy law at the University of Washington. "The idea is that you drop a little file on a person’s computer and then you know them again when you see them." Read more » about Where all those digital cookies came from