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Faculty News and Scholarship

  • - New Hampshire Public Radio Professor Ryan Calo speaks to New Hampshire Public Radio about his Brookings Institute paper, The Case for A Robotics Commission.  (9/28/14)
  • - Ars Technica
    Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington, who has studied drone law, told Ars that the government shouldn't impose a double standard.
    "I'll say this: the government should not have a monopoly on drones, banning the use by the press and others while retaining the right themselves," he said. "This is an important technology and there needs to be symmetry."
  • - Forbes While inferring what we want can save us time, make it easier for us to accomplish goals, and expedite finding things we expect will bring us pleasure, predictive technology also can create problems. Privacy scholars like Ryan Calo note that if marketers can use big data to predict when we’re susceptible to lowering our guard, they can capitalize on our vulnerabilities. A related concern was expressed when Facebook ran it’s infamous emotion contagion experiment. If social media companies can predict, with ever-finer precision, what makes users eager to engage with their platforms, they can design features that will manipulate us accordingly. (9/27/14)
  • - Slate
    On Thursday, the Australian Senate passed a bill that would increase the powers of domestic spy agency ASIO, giving it the ability to monitor all of the Australian Internet with a single warrant. It could also send anyone who “recklessly” discloses information that “relates to a special intelligence operation” to jail for up to 10 years. (Any operation can be considered special.) The bill is expected to pass the House, where it will be up for a vote on Tuesday at the earliest.
    The law will, if passed, dramatically increase the government’s powers of surveillance, but despite Abbott's reference to a "shift," it’s not necessarily inconsistent with existing Australian policy. Ryan Calo, assistant professor of the University Washington School of Law and author of a Brookings report on why the United States needs a federal robotics commission, pointed to Australia as a country with a more deliberate, and more consistently permissive, policy toward drones, surveillance drones included.
  • - The Economist
    WHEN the autonomous cars in Isaac Asimov's 1953 short story “Sally” encourage a robotic bus to dole out some rough justice to an unscrupulous businessman, the reader is to believe that the bus has contravened Asimov's first law of robotics, which states that “a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm”.
    Asimov's "three laws" are a bit of science-fiction firmament that have escaped into the wider consciousness, often taken to be a serious basis for robot governance. But robots of the classic sort, and bionic technologies that enhance or become part of humans, raise many thorny legal, ethical and regulatory questions. If an assistive exoskeleton is implicated in a death, who is at fault? If a brain-computer interface is used to communicate with someone in a vegetative state, are those messages legally binding? Can someone opt to replace their healthy limbs with robotic prostheses?
  • - Law360 A pending U.S. Supreme Court case that turns on whether former Amazon.com warehouse workers must be paid for time spent on anti-theft security screenings could invite businesses to impose “all kinds of mandatory off-the-clock work” on employees, veteran Supreme Court advocate Eric Schnapper, who represents the plaintiffs, told Law360 in a recent interview.  (9/24/14)
  • - Silicon Beat
    We’ve got cars without drivers out there. Companies are testing drone delivery. Specialized robots are being used inside and outside factories. Ethical, societal and legal concerns surrounding automation and robotics abound. So a new Brookings Institute report says it’s time for a federal commission for robotics.
    Ryan Calo, assistant professor at the University of the Washington School of Law and formerly at the Center for the Internet and Society, wrote the report. He believes robotics will bring about such a profound change that a new government agency is necessary.
  • - The Washington Post
    Why does the United States needs a new federal commission focused solely on understanding our robot future? The real question is, why don't we?
    Ryan Calo is an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law, and in a new paper out from Brookings he makes the case that a new Federal Robotics Commission would help make sense of the various technology applications that separate human agency from execution. 
  • - The Seattle Times Andersen, a University of Washington law professor emeritus, said the ruling, “would not be followed today (most of the cases on which it relies have been long since overruled). Since then, the income tax has become the third rail of Washington politics.” (9/10/14)
  • - U.S. News & World Report
    That sounds very convenient, but it also raises questions about where data is stored and how it is used by those with access to it. Apple recently faced cybersecurity backlash after the hackers stole nude photos from iCloud online storage accounts owned by movie star such as Jennifer Lawrence, which the company said was due to poor password protection by the users, not a data breach of its systems.
    “It’s a reminder that anything you put in the cloud – even things you think are gone after deleting them – can still be there,” says Ryan Calo, assistant professor of law at the University of Washington.
  • - Verdict Justicia Bitcoin confounds lawmakers as they try to figure out what it is and how it should be regulated. The Bitcoin Foundation notes that Bitcoin is an innovative payment network and a new kind of money. But is it money? Some call it a new form of virtual currency. Others have lauded it as a new type of payment system. So what is it? And why does it matter? (9/9/14)
  • - U.S. News & World Report Study skills and long-term financial planning are on the agenda at many law schools' orientations.​ (9/2/14)
  • - The Seattle Times Attorneys will gather Wednesday to argue whether the state Supreme Court should find lawmakers in contempt for not making enough progress toward adequately funding Washington’s public schools. (9/2/14)
  • - Tech Times Though militarized drones strike terror into the hearts of those on the ground below, Google wants its autonomous aircraft to bring hope as the micro air vehicles deliver aid to those affected by disasters. (8/29/14)
  • - The Wall Street Journal
    "I don't know that Google is much better positioned than Amazon or anyone else in terms of technology, but the company has a track record of being influential in terms of policy," said Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington who studies robotics and privacy.
    Earlier this year, the FAA said it didn't contemplate autonomous drone delivery, effectively grounding Google's and Amazon's ambitions for now, Mr. Calo noted. However, he said having both Google and Amazon working to change the FAA's view increased their chances of success.
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