In the Media

Faculty Director Ryan Calo Testifies Before German Parliament

On June 22, 2016 C0-Director Calo testified before the German Parliament, the Bundestag. He answered questions as part of a hearing before the Committee on the Digital Agenda on “The Effects of Robotics on Economics, Labour and Society. He answered questions about the application of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence for economic growth; and identified a number of issues regulatory issues legislators will face. Read more here.

Regulating Robots: Co-Director Ryan Calo’s Talk at Aspen Ideas Festival

Recently, Lab Co-Director Ryan Calo spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival and The Atlantic covered his talk and his latest article “Robotics and the New Cyberlaw“.

“Law professor Ryan Calo believes that robots are soon going to constitute a more abrupt departure from the technologies that preceded them than did the Internet from personal computers and telephones. Robotic technology is changing so fast, with such significant implications, that he believes the federal government is ill equipped to regulate the society we’ll soon be living in. Hence his Friday pitch to an Aspen Ideas Festival crowd: a new federal agency to regulate robots.

The idea is not without precedent. Transformative advances like radio, vaccines, railroads, autos, and airplanes have prompted new federal agencies. Anticipating the objection that overzealous regulation might slow innovation, Calo argued that robots aren’t now unregulated, they just fall under the purview of various agencies that lack the expertise to make sound, timely decisions, and who, fearing the unknown, often say “no” to desirable innovations as a result.”

Read more here.

Securing Smart Machines – Director Kohno’s Panel at RSA

Using recent examples, panelists will examine the security challenges companies face when adding connectivity to everyday consumer devices. What risks should manufacturers consider in designing and maintaining their products? How can companies keep users apprised of risks and threats? What best practices should companies adopt to improve product security and consumer awareness? – See more

Security the Scariest Part About the Internet of Things – Director Kohno quoted by Washington Post

“Very often we see sectors of the broader industry that are not computer  science experts starting to integrate computers into their systems and then start to integrate networks into those systems,” said Kohno. “Because they don’t have experience being attacked by real attackers, like Microsoft and so on, their level of security awareness … appears to be dated.”

Read the full article here.

When Apps Attack – Director Calo contributes to Forbes.com

(photo credit Johan Larsson)

My colleague Yoshi told me an interesting story the other day.  He looked down at his smart phone to find a large spider running across it.  Understandably, my colleague dropped the phone in surprise.  The screen on the phone cracked when it hit the floor.

It turns out there was no spider.  Yoshi had been using an app to count calories.  The app makes money by displaying the occasional ad.  This particular ad, for pest control services, consisted of an elaborate spider animation.

. . .

Now take our spider ad.  The ad’s designers scared my colleague on purpose in order to sell him pest control services.  He predictably dropped and broke his phone.  Other academics and practitioners may disagree, but I think what we have here is a case of digital assault.

It will not be long before apps can do much more than just scare people.  There’s already an app store for robots (which I help advise) and a 3D printer that costs $499.  The wizards at MIT Media Lab recently developed an interface that permits the user to reach out and touch distant objects.  But the line between the physical and the digital was perhaps never all that bright in the first place.