Scholarly conference to deal with the legal status of robots

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Lawyers and policy wonks with a futurist bent are advised to take note. The University of Miami School of Law is organizing a conference called "We Robot: Inaugural Conference on Legal and Policy Issues Relating to Robotics." They're seeking scholars, lawyers, and roboticists who want to discuss a topic that will probably be making headlines in a decade: How the law will regulate robots. The school bills the event as one of the first conferences of its kind. Attendees will "examine how the increasing sophistication of robots and their widespread deployment everywhere from the home, to hospitals, to public spaces, and even to the battlefield disrupts existing legal regimes or requires rethinking of various policy issues."

Some topics the group hopes to discuss include:

Effect of robotics on the workplace, e.g. small businesses, hospitals, and other contexts where robots and humans work side-by-side.
Regulatory and licensing issues raised by robots in the home, the office, in public spaces (e.g. roads), and in specialized environments such as hospitals.
Design of legal rules that will strike the right balance between encouraging innovation and safety, particularly in the context of autonomous robots.
Issues of legal or moral responsibility, e.g. relating to autonomous robots or robots capable of exhibiting emergent behavior.
Issues relating to robotic prosthetics (e.g. access equity issues, liability for actions activated by conscious or unconscious mental commands).
Relevant differences between virtual and physical robots.
Relevant differences between nanobots and larger robots.
Usage of robots in public safety and military contexts.
Privacy issues relating to data collection by robots, either built for that purpose or incidental to other tasks.
Intellectual property challenges relating to robotics as a nascent industry, to works or inventions created by robots, or otherwise peculiar to robotics.
Issues arising from legal automation such as unauthorized practice of law or medicine.


If you'd like to submit a paper, you have until January 13.

More information available via the University of Miami School of Law "We Robot" conference site.


Image by Nat Urich via Shudderstock