Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

March 7th, 2014

Robots: Privacy, Google, and Big Deals

What does it mean to have giants like Google, Apple and Amazon investing in robotics? Since last December, Google alone has acquired a handful of companies in robotics, home automation and artificial intelligence. This can be pretty exciting for robotics. But what exactly is the internet giant planning to do with this technology? Is there something we should be worried about? If there is, what can we do about it?

Experts have been actively talking about this in the media, including through Robohub’s recent focus series on Big Deals in Robotics.

In today’s episode, AJung talks with Avner Levin, a privacy and cybercrime expert, about Google’s recent acquisition of companies. Levin sheds light on why we should be concerned about the recent series of acquisitions by the big companies from privacy and cybercrime perspective. He also discusses whether the existing privacy policies are ready to handle what may lie shortly ahead of us in the future — the future of the Internet of Things, or perhaps Google branded robots.

Avner Levin

Avner Levin is the Chair of the Law & Business Department, as well as the Director of the Privacy and Cyber Crime Institute at Ryerson Universityin Toronto, Canada. His research interest is in regulation and protection of privacy with respect to technology within Canada and worldwide. In the interview, he advocates for more discussion of privacy issues to take place, not just within the companies that (do/will) hold our data, but by governing bodies.

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April 19th, 2013

Robots: Ethical, Social and Legal Issues

In this episode, Per talks to Pericle Salvini from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna about his work with social, ethical and legal issues in robotics. He tells us about the Robolaw project that will provide advice to the European Union when it creates laws concerning robotics. Finally, we discuss how you can contribute to this important work.

Pericle Salvini
Pericle Salvini graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Pisa in 2000 with a thesis on ‘Theatre and Technologies’. In 2005, he completed a Master in Theatre Studies at Lancaster University (UK), where he delved into the telepresence artworks of E. Kac, R. Ascott and P. Sermon. In 2008, he received his PhD in Biorobotics Science and Engineering from IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Italy). In his PhD thesis he studied robot design and ethical, legal and social implications. He is currently a research fellow at the BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy. His main research interests are in the fields of Human-Robot Interaction (design, human factor and social acceptance of robots), and technoethics (ethical, legal and social implications of robotics research and applications). He is also involved in activities concerning the use of robots in education and art. He is currently co-chair of the Human Robot Interaction and Communication Technical Committee of RAS-IEEE and project manager of the Robolaw project.

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March 8th, 2013

Robots: Giving Rights to Robots

In this episode, we talk with Kate Darling from the MIT Media Lab, about giving rights to social robots. She tells us about a recent Pleo torture session she organized at the LIFT conference and the class she taught at Harvard Law School on “Robot Rights”.

Kate Darling
Kate Darling is an Intellectual Property Research Specialist at the MIT Media Lab. She recently wrote a paper on “Extending Legal Rights to Social Robots” where she asks if we should consider protecting robots that connect with us on a social level. In her paper, she says:

“Assuming that our society wants to protect animals regardless of their capacities, because of our personal attachments to them, society may well also want to protect social robots regardless of their capacities.”

To test our attachment to robot companions, Darling organized a workshop at LIFT which involved torturing and “killing” Pleo dinosaurs.

The task ended up being surprisingly difficult for the participants who had spent time bonding with the robots. In the end, only one Pleo was killed.

Darling asks if mistreating a social robot could be a precursor sign of abusive personality, and if certain limits should be set on what people should and shouldn’t be doing with robots. She tells us about the course she co-taught with Professor Lawrence Lessig at Harvard Law School on “Robot Rights”, and the questions legal experts should be tackling in the realm of robotics.

Kate Darling is also a Ph.D. candidate in the field of Intellectual Property and Law & Economics at the ETHZ in Switzerland and holds a law degree (B.A./J.D. equivalent) from the University of Basel, where she graduated with honors in 2008. Her research interests have previously revolved around innovation policy and the economic analysis of copyright and patent law. She gave a related talk at LIFT this year entitled “Innovation Drivers: XXX”.

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