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
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ROBOTS? Our fascination with these machines dates back centuries. The ancient Greeks built them. Robots haunted the Industrial Revolution. For a time in the 1980s, the decade that brought us Short Circuit, The Terminator and RoboCop, it seemed that the United States had caught robot fever. Read more » about They're watching. How can that be a good thing?
"For Calo, whose work looks at online tracking for ad sales, the questions come down to consumer protection: How can we ensure that low-information consumers aren't being manipulated into deals and other purchases that are against their own interests?" Read more » about Do Helmet Cams Invade Privacy?
"Plus Professor Ryan Calo from the University of Washington tells us it's not so much about privacy and that instead we should worry about what profit-seeking corporations will do in the future to get people to part with their money." Read more » about Data mining or creepy snooping?
"A new paper by professor Ryan Calo at the University of Washington goes the furthest I have seen in elucidating the potential harms of digital-ad targeting. And his argument basically boils down to this: This isn't about the sanctity of the individual or even, strictly speaking, about privacy. This is about protecting consumers from profit-seeking corporations, who are gaining an insurmountable edge in their efforts to get people to part with their money." Read more » about What Does It Really Matter If Companies Are Tracking Us Online?
"Ryan Calo: I think that there are three key differences between robotics and the technologies that preceded robotics.
Antony Funnell: Professor Ryan Calo from the University of Washington Law School and an affiliate scholar at Stanford."
Listen to the full radio interview here: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/robots3a-their-rights-and-legal-status/4868110#transcript Read more » about Robots: their rights and legal status
"That in-your-face quality of Glass could wake up more people to their ever shrinking privacy in the rapidly advancing digital age, University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo said.
Not only will people be more keenly aware that they have no reasonable expectation of privacy in public, Glass and devices like it could make it easier for government authorities to gain access to everything they see and record without a warrant, he said." Read more » about Google Glass sees all -- and that raises privacy concerns
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
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