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Why the ­.S. Might Just Need a Federal Commission on Robots


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A potential logo for a Federal Robotics Commission.

A new paper suggests the need to establish a Federal Robotics Commission.

Credit: Brookings Institution

University of Washington School of Law professor Ryan Calo makes a compelling argument for establishing a Federal Robotics Commission (FRC), according to a paper published by the Brookings Institution. Calo says an FRC could potentially help extract sense and insight from the many technological applications that separate human agency from execution.

As an example of where such a body could be useful, Calo cites the U.S. Department of Transportation's assignment to investigate possible software issues underlying the sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles involved in serious accidents. The agency turned to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration for assistance, but Calo says such ad hoc cross-agency consultancy is not sustainable as a long-term strategy.

He and others contend technological changes do not just represent variations on existing practices, but constitute completely new ones in which the outcomes are difficult to anticipate. Moreover, Calo says this emergent behavior entails many legal, ethical, and technological ramifications that can only be understood and supported with a particular type of expertise and holistic mindset.

He speculates the FRC could function as a floating group of robotics specialists available to assist its allied agencies when such issues come up while developing useful expertise in its chosen field.

From The Washington Post
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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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