Robots at Common Law

Ryan Calo (Washington D.C)

Berliner Seminar Recht im Kontext
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Juristische Fakultät, Raum 213
Unter den Linden 9, 10099 Berlin

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This talk closely examines a half century of American case law involving robots – just in time for the technology itself to enter the mainstream. Most of the cases involving robots have never found their way into legal scholarship. And yet, taken collectively, these cases reveal much about the assumptions and limitations of the American legal system. Robots blur the line between people and instrument, for instance, and faulty notions about robots lead jurists to questionable or contradictory results. The talk concludes with some reflects on the direction of the common law of robots and on legal scholarship about robotics.

Ryan Calo is the Lane Powell and D. Wayne Gittinger Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Law. He is a faculty co-director (with Batya Friedman and Tadayoshi Kohno) of the University of Washington Tech Policy Lab, a unique, interdisciplinary research unit that spans the School of Law, Information School, and Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. Professor Calo holds courtesy appointments at the University of Washington Information School and the Oregon State University School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering.
Professor Calo's research on law and emerging technology appears or is forthcoming in leading law reviews (California Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, and Columbia Law Review) and technical publications (MIT Press, Nature, Artificial Intelligence) and is frequently referenced by the mainstream media (NPR, New York Times, Wall Street Journal). Professor Calo has testified before the full Judiciary and Commerce Committees of the United States Senate and the German Parliament and has organized events on behalf of the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Obama White House. He has been a speaker at the President Obama's Frontiers Conference, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and NPR's Weekend in Washington.