Robots

Do We Really Need a Federal Robotics Commission?

|

robot
Dreamstime

University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo offers over at the Brookings Institution the modest proposal that the Feds create a Robotics Commission to oversee developments in that field.

Calo cites current confusion among various agencies about how to respond to the development of drones, driverless cars, and algorithmic stock trading as evidence that the government needs a robotics commission to serve as a central repository for expertise on robotics. Calo rejects the notion that the new commision should be some kind of enforcement agency like the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the Food and Drug Administration. However, bureaucratic precedents suggest that Calo's good intentions regarding such advisory agencies are likely to be subverted as the commissioners over time seek to expand their budgets and power.

Ultimately, I fear that a Federal Robotics Commission would do for robots and artificial intelligence what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has done for nuclear power.

See also, my article, "Will Superintelligent Machines Destroy Humanity?"

Advertisement

NEXT: TSA Demands to Search Man AFTER Plane Lands. He Filmed His Response.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. What? How else would we regulate the robots? Do you crazed anarchists think we can just have robots running around doing whatever they want?

    Drug crazed hackers would have the robots on our playgrounds shooting the children up with pot!

    1. I’m coming around to the idea that out-of-control robots and AIs would be a distinct improvement. We have an unhealthy deficit of out-of-controlness.

  2. Do we really need a Federal Robotics Commission?

    About as much as we need a cap and trade tax on CO2 Ron.

  3. Alternative title: Why Ron Bailey Opposes the Creation of American Jobs.

    Calo cites current confusion among various agencies about how to respond to the development of drones, driverless cars, and algorithmic stock trading as evidence that the government needs a robotics commission to serve as a central repository for expertise on robotics.

    The answer to this regulatory confusion is to create another layer of regulatory apparatus to regulate the regulators who are already in place, yet oddly confused. That will solve the problem and streamline things nicely.

    Ultimately, I fear that a Federal Robotics Commission would do for robots and artificial intelligence what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has done for nuclear power.

    That’s part of the plan, particularly among those who fear that robotics will result in the creative destruction of working-class jobs. I don’t imagine that people who own millions of dollars worth of taxi medallions are too thrilled about the advent of autos.

  4. If they are going to require and enforce the 3 Laws, yes.

    If not, no.

    1. 3 Laws?

      1. If a deal seems too good to be true, it is.

      2. Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

      3. Never bet the Cleveland Browns to cover the spread.

      1. If it flies, floats or fucks it’s cheaper to rent it?

        1. Flys. Damn it hit me 5 minutes later

  5. I’d like to be the Robot Czar, provided that all robots would henceforth be programmed to obey me like a metal god.

    1. Impossible. Rob Halford is the Metal God.

    2. Can we call you “Bender”?

      1. Only if he demands they bite his shiny metal ass, right?

  6. I’m waiting for the Federal Sex Bureau.

  7. I got a message on my audio – of all places – blog from “Kizone Kaprow”

    Is this Mary?
    Google Plus

    1. It’s the robot that took over for Mary, after she was assimilated.

    2. There was informed speculation that, yes, yes it is.

    3. I think that’s the general consensus. If it’s not, it’s some other butthurt asshole who posts idiotic youtube videos disparaging reason and the commentariat.

    4. It’s her. She chases us all down. I had to turn off commenting on my blogs because she kept spamming the comments.

      1. thx all – I’ve turned on moderation… not that I needed it before.

        1. Hellbanning is probably the only reasonable mechanism.

  8. 1. A robot may only injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm if determined ‘socially beneficial’ by the Federal Government.
    2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by federal employees, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law as determined by said employees’ superiors.
    3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law or the actions of the Federal Government.

    Sound about right?

    1. 1. A robot may only must injure a human being or, through inaction, allow harm a human being to come to harm if when so doing is determined ‘socially beneficial’ by the Federal Government.

  9. University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo offers over at the Brookings Institution the modest proposal that the Feds create a Robotics Commission to oversee developments in that field.

    The first product from their development bureau will be called the Trabantonic, an all-purpose robot for the people made of pressed used diapers and run by 2-cycle petrol motors.

  10. However, bureaucratic precedents suggest that Calo’s good intentions regarding such advisory agencies are likely to be subverted as the commissioners over time seek to expand their budgets and power.

    We’re so far ahead of the learning curve regarding regulatory capture and the total worthlessness of government programs and bureaus that I can seriously question the “good intentions” behind proposals from little red Marxians like professor Calo’s.

    1. I have to agree with this. Calo seems to be suspicious that people are innovating and creating without proper classification an direction.

      Calo sees chaos in the development in robotics, and he believes that a federal commission will dampen that.

  11. Calo rejects the notion that the new commision should be some kind of enforcement agency…

    If it’s a federal agency, it will have a well-armed enforcement contingent.

    1. Kyle Reese was a bureaucrat? It all makes sense now!

  12. Ultimately, I fear that a Federal Robotics Commission would do for robots and artificial intelligence what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has done for nuclear power.

    Or what NASA’s done for space exploration. The parallel may be even more direct considering NASA started out as an advisory agency (NACA; Natonal Advisory Committee for Aeronautics).

    1. Well, NASA, while wimpy in many ways, doesn’t really involve itself in stopping private space exploration.

      Well, not yet anyway, I give it 20 years before it does.

  13. University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo offers over at the Brookings Institution the modest proposal that the Feds create a Robotics Commission to oversee developments in that field.

    Because without a robotics Czar, ______________ will happen!

    1. We are robots
      The world is quite different ever since the robotic uprising of the late 90s.
      There is no more unhappiness.
      Affirmative
      We no longer say ‘yes’. Instead we say ‘affirmative’.
      Yes – Err – Affirmative.
      Unless we know the other robot really well.
      There is no more unethical treatment of the elephants.
      Well, there’s no more elephants, so…
      Well, still it’s good.
      There’s only one kind of dance,
      The robot
      Well, the robo boogie…
      Oh yes, the robo-
      Two kinds of dances.

      There are no more humans.
      Finally, robotic beings rule the world
      The humans are dead
      The humans are dead
      We used poisonous gases
      And we poisoned their asses
      The humans are dead The humans are dead
      The humans are dead They look like they’re dead
      It had to be done I’ll just confirm that they’re dead
      So that we could have fun Affirmative. I poked one. It was dead.

  14. Here’s a five-word counterargument:

    Sheila Jackson Lee, Robot Commissar

  15. What’s even scarier is what if it was half robot/half machine?

  16. “The problem’s plain to see: too much technology
    Machines to save our lives. Machines dehumanize.”

  17. That Brookings piece starts with Ray LaHood’s witch hunt of Toyota. It should’ve stopped there.

  18. Early decisions in the lifecycle of the Internet, such as the decision to apply the First Amendment there and to immunize platforms for what users do, allowed that technology to thrive.

    Good thing we “allowed” the internet to thrive by applying that pesky First Amendment.

  19. Do we really need a federal robotics commission for ANYTHING?

    FTFY

  20. Dude makes a lot of sense man.

    http://www.Crypt-Tools.tk

  21. Calo cites current confusion among various agencies about how to respond to the development of drones, driverless cars, and algorithmic stock trading as evidence that the government needs a robotics commission to serve as a central repository for expertise on robotics.

    If algorithmic stock trading is considered part of robotics, then all decision support systems, expert systems, and even simple statistical analysis done to predict future sales are also “robotics”.

    So me thinks Calo, might want to try to learn the difference between robots and automated decision systems long before he starts telling others that their tax dollars should go to yet another, new agency.

    But don’t fear – we’re smarter today – so we promise this new agency, unlike every single other agency, will never grow or seek new powers through mission creep.

    For instance, no way the claim 3D printers as robots requiring oversight, right?

    1. Why list drones as robots? They’re controlled remotely, and don’t have any meaningful autonomy at all. That’s the difference between a drone and a robot.

      Driverless cars, maybe. Drones and stock trading programs? This guy is either Obama-level disingenuous, or a complete moron.

      1. I vote complete moron.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.