A man practices surgery using a robot during the opening of the robotics surgery training center ‘Onze-Lieve-Vrouwziekenhuis Vattikuti Robotic Surgery Institute.’ (NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images)
Ryan Calo is an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law and has suggested a Federal Robotics Commission as a “thought experiment.” Technocrat talked with him about the idea, how he defines robotics, and more. Below is some of the discussion. You can read more on Technocrat’s chat with Calo here on legal issues he foresees arising in the coming years.
Sen. Patrick Leahy speaks with reporters before the Senate luncheons in the Capitol in March 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
As federal regulators continue to review Comcast’s proposal to acquire Time Warner Cable and as the Federal Communications Commission seeks to draft net neutrality rules, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is calling on Comcast to promise that it won’t engage in paid prioritization.
In a letter to Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen on Monday, Sen.Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., wrote:
In a May blog post, you wrote that Comcast does not intend to enter into paid prioritization agreements. I welcome that assertion, but I remain gravely concerned that if such agreements are permitted [under the FCC's net neutrality rules], market incentive may drive Comcast and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to change that position in the future.
Government officials have been saying for years that they want to see more payment cards ditching the magnetic strips and signatures and switching over to the embedded microchips and PIN numbers favored by European nations and Canada, but they can’t agree on a way to get the industry to take action. The White House said President Obama is taking a shot at leading by example, signing an executive order Friday for government credit cards to make the change.
Ryan Calo is an assistant law professor at the University of Washington School of Law whose academic work looks at the legal and policy aspects of robotics. Technocrat talked to him about what he anticipates the future of robotics will look like, legal issues he thinks will arise in the coming years, and more.
Q: I know you say you’re a legal professor and not an engineer, but what are your assumptions of how you see robotics impacting our daily lives in the future, if at all, in the coming years?
A: Well, I think that robotics will rapidly be entering the mainstream. I think you’ll see ‘em in hospitals, I think you’ll see ‘em in stores. I think people will have them in their homes more so even than they do today. I just think that robots will touch every part of our lives. Transportation, medicine, you name it.
You’ll see them flying around and so forth. So, I think that robots will be almost ubiquitous the way that, you know, computers are.
Among the findings of a report released Thursday by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration: whether you go online and check your email using your phone depends on your education and income level, and whether you live in a rural or urban area.
The report on Internet usage is based on a 2012 Census Bureau survey of more than 53,000 households.
The majority of school districts surveyed cited the monthly Internet costs as an obstacle to boosting connectivity in schools, according to a new report that calls for more funding for the federal program that subsidizes Internet service for public schools and libraries.
According to the report, 58 percent of school districts said high Internet bills posed the biggest barrier to boosting Internet connectivity. Another 38 percent said capital, non-recurring costs were their biggest challenge. Other barriers included factors like geography and poor classroom wireless access.
Among the highlights in happenings from the past few days: President Barack Obama talked net neutrality, AT&T Mobility agreed to a $105 million settlement over mobile “cramming” allegations, and an astronaut popular on Twitter took his first spacewalk outside the International Space Station. That and more news highlights as well as some Technocrat posts are below. For happenings from earlier this week, check out the Mid-Week Catchup.
In the context of competitiveness and immigration policy, STEM jobs and education are big issues. But what do we actually mean when we’re talking about STEM? Obviously, science, technology, engineering and math. But the approach to STEM education needs to be more targeted, argues Patrick Gusman.
At a panel discussion hosted by the Internet Innovation Alliance and Pew Research Center on Thursday, he said that instead of investing in STEM education because it’s a “great buzzword,” there needs to be an examination of what the currently relevant skills are and “re-tooling” school, after-school and community programs accordingly.
Technocrat caught up with him afterwards and he said that people see STEM as a “mythic” positive, and that they don’t understand it in detail.
“You can say a word but not really give it meaning,” he said, adding that politicians throw out the term. “But what’s behind it? What are you teaching as far as those skills?”
He posed these questions: Are students being taught to become bio-pharmacists or to be the next Mark Zuckerberg? Do they end up getting internships? Do they take the Advanced Placement test for computer science?
The complexity is being missed by simply throwing out the term STEM, he said.
STEM education should be broken down beyond its umbrella of science, technology, engineering and math, to “dig down into the details” and try to connect such programs to industries that are prominent or that there’s a desire to grow in the local area, he said.
For more on why there’s so much talk about STEM – at least in New Hampshire – check out this New Hampshire Public Radio video:
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., arrives at the House Triangle for a news conference. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
California Democrat Zoe Lofgren wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on Wednesday, contending that the strongest proposal for net neutrality rules is to both reclassify broadband as a common carrier and implement rules under Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
In the letter, she writes that she’s “unconvinced” that rules to “ensure an open and prosperous Internet” can be established solely under Section 706 authority. She also writes that reclassifying broadband as a common carrier under Title II of the Communications Act “it not without some concern,” contending it should be done narrowly, a point she’s previously asserted.
Of the proposals put forward, there is only one that currently meets the criteria of clear, unambiguous authority, strong rules and measured restraint that has been demanded by the public. That is for the FCC to reclassify broadband Internet access as a title II service, and use a combination of its rulemaking and forbearance authority under section 706 to implement its Open Internet rules.
House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking Democrat Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., proposed a “hybrid” approach last week that would reclassify broadband under Title II and use Section 706 to adopt rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.