Consumer robotics and Ryan Calo, director of Robotics at CIS, profiled in this SF gate article.
Technical manuals and popular fiction helped thrust robots into the popular imagination in the late 1970s, cast in the twin archetypes of mechanical monsters or tin sidekicks.
But for technical, financial and other reasons, the grand promise - or grave threat - of the rise of robots never came to pass. (We're still waiting on our jetpacks, too.)
Several decades later, Ryan Calo, a legal privacy expert at Stanford, believes we're finally on the precipice of a genuine robot revolution. He expects it will transform our everyday lives as much as the PC and Internet did.
Calo says the limitations that prevented robots from breaching the consumer marketplace - the occasional Roomba or toy pet notwithstanding - are falling away one by one. Robots can now climb walls, drive cars, perform surgery and fold laundry. Meanwhile, technology advances have sent prices tumbling.
But before the transformation to a robot culture can be complete, critical legal and policy questions must be considered, both to propel the transformation and protect businesses and consumers as it happens.
Calo, director of privacy and robotics at the Stanford Center for Internet & Society, has increasingly turned his attention to robot-related issues in recent months. He established the Legal Aspects of Autonomous Driving Projects, chairs the committee on robotics and artificial intelligence for the American Bar Association, and has written several academic papers on the topic.
In an interview with The Chronicle, he discussed the challenges and promises of a robotic renaissance.