In 2013, I Resolve to Post a Lot … But Only About Robots

by Kenneth Anderson

Kidding!  Happy New Year to everyone!  Chris’s post below made me want to add that I have a goal in 2013, which is to post lots more.  2012 was family-intensive, but things are looking good for 2013, and my resolution is to post much more than I have in 2012.  Thanks to others for carrying the ball, and to our new staff, Jessica and An, as well as to Kristen, and to Peggy for carrying so much of the behind-scenes burden of OJ.

I do plan to take Chris’s excellent suggestion and blog in 2013 about robots, technology, and the inter-relationships with international law, international organizations, globalization more broadly.  I think Chris is right to say that we reflexively think about domestic law when it comes to these areas, but there are many issues in international economic law, as well as the economics of globalization more generally.  Here’s a question I plan to explore across all the places I blog in 2013, including OJ – I’m thinking about offering a course in robots and the law, a research seminar, in a year or two.

I have a couple of hesitations, though.  One is substantive – is there really any “there there” to robots and the law, or is it just a hodge podge of different legal categories, bits and pieces from tort law, products liability, IP, some areas of international economic law – tossed together without any real reason to be together except that the professor thought this was cool?  The other hesitation is pedagogical – like many law professors, I’d guess, I’ve got much tougher in thinking about what I teach and how I think it will benefit my students as lawyers in the world.  It’s easy to say that robotics is the new and happening field (it is!), and so “law and robots” must be important, but there are a lot of reasons for thinking that my students should concentrate on the bread and butter issues, and let things like robots get figured out once they have the basic tools in hand.  I’d welcome your thoughts, on both substance and pedagogy – I’m not committed to doing this, and my primary concern is to do what’s most helpful for my students, at a mid-tier school in a tough job market – not just in relation to international or cross border law, but more generally.  What might make a lot of sense for Stanford Law School doesn’t necessarily make sense for WCL.

But there are other areas I want to explore in 2013 at OJ, and although they certainly include national security and such areas, they do run far away from that stuff.  One is economic, financial, and fiscal issues – related to Europe and the Eurozone, for one, but also economics and legal issues in the global economy.  I hope to engage Martin Holterman and Peter Lindseth, among others, in some of those discussions.  There are other areas related to development economics that I’d like to draw into OJ – microfinance in a generic sense, and the increasing number of issues that it raises in development economics and finance, such as remittance flows, micro-intermediation such as Kiva, and so on.

Finally, I plan to start talking about the UN and my book which, if Santa didn’t bring it to you, meant either that you were on the nice list or else you were on the naughty list, depending.  So I hope all of our readers and all of the OJ community have a wonderful New Year, and I look forward to blogging in 2013!  Best wishes in 2013.

One Response

  1. Kevin,

    Teach ‘law of robots’ as a way to illustrate the basic legal issues. Take UAVs. There is almost no ‘law of UAVs’ (albeit this is changing in various domestic jurisdictions), but thinking about UAVs causes us to think much harder about issues like geography of the battlespace, marking of military aircraft, the legal status of civilians operating armed UAVs etc.

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