Prospectus

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Robot Law - Regulating robot and Artificial Intelligence technologies

Course
2019-2020

Admission requirements:

This course is an (extracurricular) Honours Class: an elective course within the Honours College programme. Third year students who don’t participate in the Honours College, have the opportunity to apply for a Bachelor Honours Class. Students will be selected based on i.a. their motivation and average grade.

Note: The course is of interest special to students from the faculties of Governance and Global Affairs (Institute of Security and Global Affairs), Humanities (in special the Institute for Philosophy), the School of Law, and the faculty of Science.

Key words:

Skills: Independent research, public speaking, leadership, oral presenting, academic writing, forum discussion, in-depth analysis, multidisciplinary methodologies, teamwork, high-level abstraction.

Topics: Law, standards, responsibility, privacy, data protection, autonomy, byproduct consequences of technology, robot technology, healthcare application, dignity, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity.

Disciplines: Law, Medicine, Public Policy, Engineering, Philosophy.

Description:

Robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) unleash opportunities that only seemed far-fetched a few years back: they provide the ability to automate, monitor and control infrastructures that are critical to modern life, they effectively manage city resources, reducing traffic congestion, pollution, or empower users with reduced mobility in healthcare settings. Robots are present at homes, schools, or care facilities embodied as dolls, companions, customer assistants, pets or innocent speakers.

The fast development of robot and AI advances, and their associated unknown risks, however, bring uncertainties on the straightforward application of the current legal framework.

In this course, we first map the latest advances in service robot technology including therapeutic robots, neuro- and physical rehabilitation robots, sex robots, delivery robots, and personal robots. We then identify what are the main regulatory initiatives revolving around robots and AI technologies in the European Union, including the European Parliament Resolution on Civil Law Rules on Robotics 2015/2103(INL), the response of the European Commission, and the Ethics Guidelines from the European High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, which was appointed by the Commission in June 2018. Third, we address particular challenges concerning privacy and data protection (following the European General Data Protection Regulation); liability, accountability, and liability (looking at codes of conduct, Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety and Directive 85/374/EEC on liability for defective products).

We close the course reflecting on the byproduct consequences of robot technology, including the consequences of the use of emotions in human-robot interaction and how this technology may affect our brain.

Additional information:
The integration of tangible and virtual elements in cyber-physical systems is growing. Autonomous cars, surgery and rehabilitation robots, smart home appliances, stock market algorithms, and natural language processors are just a few examples of robots and AI technologies that increasingly interact with humans in private, professional or public settings. Robots and AI unleash opportunities that only seemed far-fetched a few years back: they provide the ability to automate, monitor and control infrastructures that are critical to modern life, such as power plants, and production processes; they effectively manage city resources, reducing traffic congestion, pollution or optimizing the air condition; or empower users with reduced mobility in healthcare settings. Robots are present at homes, schools, or care facilities embodied as dolls, companions, customer assistants, pets or innocent speakers.

Due to the novelty of practices and impacts, the development of technology may bring about unclear rules and areas of legal ambiguity. In other words, there might not be an immediate applicable legal rule or precedent to a particular use or development of technology. The exponential growth of supercomputing power, the ability to store and process large data and improve the performance of the Internet do not seem to facilitate either way the reaction capacity of society to face the problems technology may cause. These factors altogether hinder the identification and the addressing of the ethical, legal and societal issues (ELSI) associated with the use and development of technology by governments and public regulatory bodies, who struggle to catch up with technology (r)evolution. The course combines lectures, input presentations, interactive sessions (debates), short documentaries and workshops. One of the sessions, on responsibility and robots and AI will be carried out by the Extraordinary Professor Serge Gijrath. The course envisages a presentation of Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe from TU Delft and member of the High-Level Expert Group on AI of the Digital Single Market Strategy.

The course envisages a visit to the recently opened multidisciplinary center AiTech at TU Delft. AiTech investigates the design and engineer of autonomous intelligent digital technologies, with a special focus on the meaningful human control behind such systems. Dr. Maria Luce Lupetti is going to prepare, together with her colleagues, different presentations on the topics of robot design, control systems, and human playful interactions. Because different institutes make AiTech, we will take advantage to visit to the TU Delft Robotics Institute and to the Values, Technology and Innovation Institute. The course will explore the possibility to go to RoboValley, a robotics hub where different experts, policymakers, and entrepreneurs collaborate.

Course objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Learn how emerging robot and AI technologies are being regulated at the European level. The course provides technical information about new robot uses and developments; and also an in-depth interdisciplinary analysis of the most pressing legal and ethical aspects of robot technology.

  • Have the possibility to improve their presentation skills, teamwork skills, and individual writing academic skills. The course provides students with room for discussion of the byproduct consequences of the use and development of robot and AI technologies in a very interdisciplinary environment.

Programme and timetable:

The schedule of this Honours Class is:

W 2 October 2019 17:00-20:00/21:00
F 4 October 2019 17:00-20:00
M 14 October 2019 17:00-20:00
Th 17 October 2019 17:00-20:00
M 4 November 2019 17:00-20:00
M 11 November 2019 17:00-20:00
M 18 November 2019 17:00-20:00
M 2 December 2019 10:00-16:00 (Visit AiTech TU Delft)
M 9 December 2019 17:00-20:00

Final paper (and presentation): Second half of January 2020 (Tu 14th)
This can be organized during the day(-time) (because this period is for (re-)exams and not for education). In due course with the participating student has to be checked whether (that day) they have (other) exams or not.

The programme of this Honours Class is: (with a previso)

Session 1: Wednesday 2 October 2019, 17h-20/21h - The rise of robots and AI
Content (3-4h):

Introduction:

  • Introducing the lecturer

  • Outline of the course.

Foundations:

  • The rise of industrial and service robot technology;

  • Personal Robots;

  • Healthcare Robots;

  • Delivery Robots;

  • Sex Robots.

Short documentary:

  • Sex Robots

Debate:

  • Impressions from the documentary

  • Innovation and moral questions: where do we set the limit?

  • Will a robot take your job?
    https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34066941](https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34066941)

Readings (3h):

Session 2.1: Friday 4 October 2019, 17h-20h - Regulatory & governance initiatives for robot and AI technologies
Content (3h):

Setting the scene:

  • Do we need laws for robot technology?

Lectures:

  • European Parliament initiatives;

  • HLEG AI Ethics;

  • Industrial and Service Robot Standards.

Readings (5h):

Session 2.2: Monday 14 October 2019, 17h-20h - Regulatory & governance initiatives for robot and AI technologies
Content (3h):

Workshop:

  • What is the regulatory approach to robot and AI technologies in your home country?

Preparation (15):

Individual work:

  • Research on national strategies of robot technology;

  • Investigate proposals or initiatives;

  • Neighboring countries.

Session 3.1: Thursday 17 October, 17h-20h - Privacy and data protection
Content (3h):

Setting the scene:

  • Is it privacy important for us?

Lectures:

  • Privacy and data protection in human-robot interactions;

  • Right to be forgotten in machine learning environments;

  • Artificial Intelligence, Robots, and Transparency.

Short documentary:

  • The future of fakes.

Debate:

  • Impressions from the documentary;

  • Is privacy dead?

Readings (8h):

Session 3.2: Monday 4 November 2019, 17h-20h - Privacy and data protection
Content (3h):

Workshop:

  • Privacy, robots and target groups: design privacy tools to ensure privacy in human-robot interaction contexts.
    Preparation (15h):

Workgroup:

  • Research on different privacy-enhancing tools;

  • Investigate how this would apply to different robots.

Session 4: Monday 11 November 2019, 17h-20h - Responsibility, Liability and Accountability
Content (3h):

Setting the scene:

  • Who is responsible if a robot hurts someone?

Lectures:

  • The responsibility gap;

  • Roboethics framework;

  • Codes of conduct for robot engineers.

Exercise:

Readings (3h):

Session 5: Monday 18 November 2019, 17h-20h - Digital Single Market High-Level Expert Group on AI (Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe) Content (3h):

Presentation:

Session 6: Monday 2 December 2019, 10h-16h - Visit AiTech TU Delft
Content (6h):

Visit the AiTech TU Delft (https://www.tudelft.nl/aitech/): * Presentations on robot design, control systems, and human playful interactions;
Visit the TU Delft Robotics Institute (https://tudelftroboticsinstitute.nl/);
Visit Values, Technology and Innovation Institute (https://www.tudelft.nl/en/tpm/about-the-faculty/departments/values-technology-and-innovation/);
Visit RoboValley (http://www.robovalley.com/events/).

Session 7.1: Monday 9 December 2019, 17h-20h - Byproduct consequences of robot technology
Content (3h):

Tv serie:

  • Black Mirror: Be right back.

Lectures:

  • Byproduct consequences of robot technology;

  • Use of emotions in human-robot interaction;

  • Long-term consequences of robot and AI.

Readings (10h):

  • Fosch-Villaronga, E., & Heldeweg, M. (2018). “Regulation, I presume?” said the robot–Towards an iterative regulatory process for robot governance. Computer law & security review, 34(6), 1258-1277, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0267364918303303;

  • Carr, N. (2011). The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. WW Norton & Company;

  • Darling, K. (2016). Extending legal protection to social robots: The effects of anthropomorphism, empathy, and violent behavior towards robotic objects. In Calo, R., Froomkin, A. M., & Kerr, I. (Eds.). (2016). Robot law. Edward Elgar Publishing, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2044797. .

Session 7.2: Tuesday 14 January 2020, during the daytime or when necessary from 16h-19h, in due course with the participating student will be checked whether they have exams or not. - Byproduct consequences of robot technology
Content (3h)

Oral presentations of the final essay:

  • What are the most pressing legal and ethical aspects of robot technology?

  • What can we do about them?

Preparation (50h):

Final essay (5000 words):

  • What are the byproduct consequences of the use and development of robot and AI technologies?

Location:

Old Observatory, Leiden.

Reading list:

Each lecture has its own reading list. See ‘programme and timetable’. Other possible literature will be announced in class or via Blackboard.

Course load and teaching method:

This course is worth 5 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Seminars: 1 seminar of 3-4 hours and 7 seminars of 3 hours (participation is mandatory);

  • Excursion: 1 excursion of 6 hours;

  • Literature reading: 29 hours in total, divided according each seminar;

  • Practical work: 40 hours for team work and presentations;

  • Final essay: 50 hours.

The course combines lectures, input presentations, interactive sessions (debates), short documentaries and workshops.

Assessment methods:

The assessment methods will look as follows:

  • 10% attendance and active participation in class;

  • 25% oral presentation on how robot and AI technologies are regulated in the student’s home country;

  • 25% workgroup on the design of privacy-preserving tools for robot and AI technologies;

  • 40% 5000-word essay reflecting on the byproduct consequences of the use and development of robot technology.

Students can only pass this course after successful completion of all requirements.

Blackboard:

Blackboard will be used in this course. Students can register for the Blackboard page one weeks prior to the start of the course.

Registration process:

Enrolling in this course is possible from Monday the 19th of August up to and including Thursday the 5th of September until 23:59 hrs through the Honours Academy. The registration link will be posted on the student website of the Honours Academy.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Bachelor Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally after successful completion of the Bachelor Honours Class.

Contact:

Dr. Eduard Fosch Villaronga: e.fosch.villaronga@law.leidenuniv.nl.