Does sex with robots need consent? Is the automation of law enforcement eroding individual privacy and due process rights? Who shoulders the criminal responsibility when machines kill?
Such social and legal issues in the rapidly evolving world of robotics was the subject of We Robot 2012, a conference at the University of Miami School of Law on April 21 and 22.
As robotics increasingly becomes a transformative technology, We Robot 2012 built on existing scholarship that explores the role of robotics. The conference panelists discussed how the increasing sophistication of robots and their widespread deployment – from the home to hospitals, public spaces, and battlefields – disrupt existing legal regimes and requires rethinking of policy issues.
The inaugural conference gathered experts on the front lines of robot theory, design and development and those who design or influence the legal and social structures in which robots operate. Guests included Kate Darling, IP Research Specialist at MIT Media Lab and currently co-teaching "Robot Rights" at Harvard Law School; Dr. Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law; and retired Brigadier General Richard M. O'Meara, who is a professor of International Law in the Division of Global and Homeland Security Affairs at Rutgers University.
"I've really been overwhelmed by the response," said Professor A. Michael Froomkin, program chair and Laurie Silvers and Michael Rubenstein Distinguished Professor of Law at Miami Law. "The real challenge is to start a conversation now between people who make the robots and those who make the rules."
The conference was held at the UM School of Law and was free and open to the public.
For more information, visit the WeRobot website at robots.law.miami.edu.