Spring 2017 Course Schedule

Regulation of Emerging Robotics Automation & Artificial Intelligence (LAW-795ER-001)
Kenneth Anderson

Meets: 01:00 PM - 02:50 PM (M) - Warren - Room N101

Enrolled: 16 / Limit: 22

Administrator Access


There are no notices at this time.


This course examines emerging technologies in three related areas (robotics, automation and autonomy, and artificial intelligence) and the law and regulation that is either gradually emerging along with the technologies, or else law and regulation that (arguably) should emerge. In areas, such as self-driving cars or civilian drones, where law/regulation are already emerging, the course will examine those regulatory approaches. In technologies, or categories of technologies, that are at earlier stages and not currently regulated, the course will examine normative, moral, and conceptual frameworks for the technology and law that arguably should apply.

The emphasis of the course is on the regulation of “human-machine interaction” (HMI) in design and use of these technologies, in which the conceptual framing of the technology and its interaction with human beings is essential to addressing normative issues. Readings will be interdisciplinary, ranging from basic reading in robotics, automation, and AI, to “HMI” problems ranging from cognitive to affective in psychology and philosophy, to normative readings in law, regulation, and ethics. Some class sessions will be devoted to a particular technology and the normative/legal/regulatory questions it raises (e.g., self-driving cars). Other class sessions will be devoted to broader conceptual questions of HMI (e.g., how should a "robot" or "robotic machine" be defined for purposes of normative regulation, and is it useful to talk about "robotic machines" as a regulatory category rather than focusing on particular technologies and their issues?)

(Topics not covered or only briefly referenced in the course: This course does not cover intellectual property at all. It also does not address cyber issues, except in passing relation to other technologies. The focus of AI in reading/discussion is less Big Data than robotics and “embodied” AI, though this will not be rigidly followed, and there might be some discussion of “Fintech.” If time in the course permits, there will be some reading/discussion of business models for drawing these technologies into the market and into broader society.)

The course will require active student participation, including non-graded but required assignments during the term, and in-class presentations by at least some students, on the basis of their draft papers or otherwise. Students should anticipate substantial weekly reading across multiple fields (for which they will be responsible at several times in the course for orally summarizing in class to help initiate the class discussion). The course will be graded on the basis of a take-home final or, by consultation with the instructor, a supervised final paper that can serve for ULWR purposes.

There are no prerequisites for the course, and a technical background or prior background in technology is not required.

Textbooks and Other Materials

The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots, John Markoff, Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (August 16, 2016), Paperback: 400 pages, ISBN-10: 0062266691 and ISBN-13: 978-0062266699

Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy, David Mindell, Publisher: Viking (October 13, 2015), Hardcover: 272 pages, ISBN-10: 0525426973 and ISBN-13: 978-0525426974

Robotics (MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series), John M. Jordan, Series: The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Publisher: The MIT Press; 1 edition (October 14, 2016), Paperback: 272 pages, ISBN-10: 0262529505 and ISBN-13: 978-0262529501

The Internet of Things (MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series) , Samuel Greengard, Series: The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Publisher: The MIT Press (March 20, 2015), Paperback: 232 pages, ISBN-10: 0262527731 and ISBN-13: 978-0262527736

Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know, Jerry Kaplan, Series: What Everyone Needs To Know, Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 3, 2016), Paperback: 192 pages, ISBN-10: 0190602392 and ISBN-13: 978-0190602390

The Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence, Keith Frankish and William M. Ramsey, editors, Publisher: Cambridge University Press (July 31, 2014), Paperback: 365 pages, and ISBN-10: 0521691915 and ISBN-13: 978-0521691918

First Class Readings

Not available at this time.