I’ve been traveling recently, and so have been away from posting. One of the enforced virtues of traveling – one of the few virtues of traveling for me these days – is the plane flight with no internet. And if the big guy in front of me reclines his seat, as he always does, I can’t even get to my computer. So I read on flights. I should have some reading gadget, Kindle or whatever, but I’m not that far along yet, and for that matter I should get an economy class friendly little word-processor to use on flights, but I’m cheap. Here’s a selection across the varied reading on my flights. No particular theme or order, I’m afraid (on account of the mixed-up topics here, I think I won’t open to comments; too jumbled to be productive). [...]
If you are going to be around Palo Alto next Thursday evening, you might consider attending a panel discussion on robotics and law at Stanford Law School. I’ll be on a panel alongside some very interesting and knowledgeable folks taking up varied aspects of robotics (my particular interest is robotics and war, but the panel will be considering many areas of robotics). The particulars are below the fold.
(Update:) Here’s the assigned topic for comments, following up on Laura’s opening comment … should the panel discuss the Three Laws? Are they a useful ethical/legal frame for dealing with robots in various aspects of human life? Did Asimov lead us all astray by proposing them? Should we instead avoid discussing them altogether? What would you propose would be a better set of principles/laws/guidelines for robot-human interactions?
(I’ll also be giving a lunch talk/discussion that same day sponsored by various student organizations at SLS specifically on robotics and armed conflict. And thanks Glenn for the Instalanche!) [...]
Reversing the position of the Bush administration, the Obama administration recently announced support for the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is currently being drafted by the United Nations. The leading voices for the ATT are the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA, funded by George Soros, and run by the Open Society’s former gun control executive, Rebecca Peters) and the IANSA spin-off “Control Arms.” Proponents of the ATT promise that it will impose effective arms on embargos on human rights violators. In a forthcoming article in the Penn State Law Review, The Arms Trade Treaty: Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Prospects for Arms Embargoes on Human Rights Violators, Paul Gallant, Joanne Eisen and I examine the issue. Our article shows that if the ATT were to be implemented as its proponents promise (to proactively embargo arms where there are serious risks of instability), there would have to be dozens of new embargos. Because small arms manufacture is already widespread, and is not technologically complex, most targets of new embargos would be able to manufacture firearms domestically.
We then study two failed arms embargos: Zimbabwe, and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Zimbabwe is currently under a European Union embargo, but there is no UN embargo because Mugabe’s principal diplomatic allies, China and South Africa, have blocked UN action. Moreover, the South African government has flagrantly violated South Africa’s own gun control law (which was imposed by the currently-ruling party), which forbids South Africa to authorize arms transfers to human rights violators. If South Africa will not obey its own laws, there is no reason to assume that it will obey treaty law created by the UN.
The eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is under a United Nations embargo, impsed by [...]