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Robotics and the New Cyberlaw

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2 Responses

  1. Orin Kerr says:

    Given the notion of “cyberlaw” is itself contested, is the important question (a) how robotics will change “cyberlaw” or (b) the specific issues that robotics presents? I would tend to think the latter, given that I’m skeptical that “cyberlaw” is a useful way to think of Internet-law related issues.

    • Ryan Calo says:

      Orin, this is a very fair question—a version of which James Grimmelman posed over Twitter. I don’t know what the answer is but I’ll tell you my thinking.

      The bulk of the paper, I’d say, is devoted to the specific issues I think robotics presents. I talk about what characterizes robotics in Part II and how law may change systematically in response in Part III.

      The reason I dwell on the cyberlaw frame is that cyberlaw (as a scholarly conversation, mind you, not a body of decisions) developed a really helpful framework for looking at technology. I mention your contribution, for instance, regarding the role of perspective. What I find especially useful about cyberlaw is its commitment to approach technology through a pragmatic, interdisciplinary lens.

      I also can’t help but observe that its the cyberlaw crowd (with some torts folks) getting most excited about robotics, and that the institutions behind the rapid development of robotics are the very same as those behind the Internet. I realize that doesn’t, as an analytic matter, determine whether that means cyber (or Internet) law should remain in the picture. But the analogies between the two are pretty strong.

      Thanks again. I’d of course welcome further thoughts.