This week's Information Science Colloquium Speaker is Peter Asaro from the School of Media Studies at the New School.

Talk Title: Regulating Robots: Law & Ethics for an Emerging Technology

Abstract: Robotic technologies (including drones, smart homes, self-driving cars, tele-surgery, and personal care robots) offer many new possibilities for collecting and distributing digital information (much like ubiquitous computing), as well as for mediating material and social interactions. These new technologies also raise critical issues of privacy, surveillance, public safety, labor, agency and responsibility. With Google lobbying state legislatures to legalize self-driving cars, and the FAA developing regulations for introducing unmanned aircraft into domestic civilian airspace, there is a broad range of policy issues that will shape these technology industries already under debate. While these policy issues have precursors in the debates over internet privacy and security, robotic media brings the concerns out into the lived material world in new ways that challenge our conceptions of public space and personal responsibility. Internationally, the use of armed drones for targeted killing and the accelerating development of technologies to enable the fully autonomous targeting and firing of weapons pose difficult challenges for international humanitarian and human rights law.

In this talk, Dr. Asaro will present his research on these issues.  His approach combines analyses of the socio-technical systems that constitute these emerging technologies, with careful reflection on the legal frameworks and ethical and social values upon which regulations are often framed.


Peter Asaro received his Ph.D. in the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Programs for the School of Media Studies at The New School in New York City, and an Affiliate Scholar at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. He is the co-founder of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, and has written on lethal robotics from the perspective of just war theory and human rights. Dr. Asaro's research also examines agency and autonomy, liability and punishment, and privacy and surveillance as it applies to consumer robots, industrial automation, smart buildings, aerial drones, and autonomous vehicles.