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Category Archives: Robotics

9/11 Case Motions Hearing: April 17 Session

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Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 9:01 AM

There’s a small band of us here at Fort Meade’s Smallwood Hall—the venue where we’ll take in, via slightly-delayed, Closed Circuit Television, more of a pre-trial motions session in the 9/11 military commission case. It’s been an odd little week at Guantanamo.  To recap, the defense has claimed that the FBI, while investigating the leak . . .
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Drone Flies Into Volcano

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Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 7:16 AM

The headline says it all. Incredible footage: )

We Robot 2014 – Call for Presentation Proposals (Including on National Security Topics)

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Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:30 AM

For reasons that won’t surprise anyone, Lawfare deals a lot with automation and robotic technologies, ranging from cyber to big data to military robotics.  So readers might be interested to learn of next year’s We Robot 2014, the third annual conference devoted to the intersection of law, society, and technologies of robotics and automation.  The . . .
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Interim Report by UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson on Drones in Counterterrorism Operations

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Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM

You can find the interim report—the final won’t be submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council until 2014, apparently—here. There’s a good bit to pore over in the paper authored by Emmerson, with whom Lawfare chatted during his May fact-finding trip to the United States.  (Just Security’s Sarah Knuckey, who Emmerson consulted in the course of his work, . . .
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Was that a Throwbot Used in the Ricin Raid?

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Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM

The Daily Mail ran the following picture in this article about the raid on the home of alleged Ricin-mailer Kevin Curtis: Notice the device the guy on his knees is holding. I could be wrong about this, but it looks to me like the screen console of a ReconScout robot—the robot discussed (and played with) in this . . .
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“Avian-Inspired Grasping for Quadrotor Micro UAVs”

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Monday, March 18, 2013 at 9:52 AM

I, for one, welcome our eagle-claw grasping robot overlords…

Playing with Robots at Brookings: An Interview with Andrew Borene

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 4:40 PM

A few months ago, I attended a robotics conference in Edina, Minnesota, invited by a gentleman named Andrew Borene, who helped organize it. There were a lot of impressive robots at the conference. But in many ways, the one that impressed me the most was one made by the company for which Andrew works, ReconRobotics. . . .
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Robotic Dog Tosses Cinderblocks

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Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 7:54 AM

Speaking of Wired Danger Room, check this out: A robotic dog that tosses cinderblocks around with its head. Spencer Ackerman explains: Flesh-and-blood dogs merely fetch. The robotic pooch that Darpa funded can throw. Boston Dynamics’ BigDog started life as a headless four-legged robot capable of hauling soldiers’ gear along rough and uneven terrain. The BigDog’s upgrades . . .
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Issues to Put on Your Intellectual Radar Screens: Cyborg Rights

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Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 7:28 AM

Over at Slate, Torie Bosch has an interview with a cyborg about, well, cyborg rights. It’s very interesting, and it goes to an issue I’ve been thinking about for a while. We think of cyborgs as inherently requiring physical connectedness between human and machine. But if we’re all carrying around smart phones all the time . . .
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Greg McNeal on Human Rights Watch and “Killer Robots”

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Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 6:51 AM

Over at Forbes.com, Greg McNeal takes a break from guest blogging for Lawfare to body slam Human Rights Watch over its “killer robots” campaign. Last week, I published a grass roots letter from Human Rights, along with Tom Malinowski’s candid reflections on how its tone jives with Tom’s desire for a “serious conversation” on the subject of . . .
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Cyborg-Roach: An Idea Whose Time Has Come—and Scuttled Under the Fridge

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Just what you need in life: Your very own cybernetic cockroach. Now, thanks to the folks at an outfit called “Backyard Brains” (“Neuroscience for Everyone!”), you can have one. No, I am not making this up. It’s the Roboroach, which can be yours for only $99.99: Have you ever wanted to walk down the hall . . .
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Human Rights Watch Campaign on Killer Robots—and Tom Malinowski’s Response

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Friday, February 22, 2013 at 5:53 PM

A few weeks ago, Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch had a thoughtful and serious—if sometimes playful—exchange with Matt, Ken, and me over fully autonomous weapons systems. But there seems to be another, less serious, side of Human Rights Watch’s advocacy on the subject, a grass-roots campaign that is quite extreme in its rhetoric and . . .
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Readings: Autonomous Weapon Systems Links Post Updated

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Monday, February 18, 2013 at 6:34 PM

Back on December 11, 2012, I posted a special Readings page of links to articles, reports and other materials on autonomous weapon systems and their regulation.  It is updated periodically; I’ve just added new articles by Michael Schmitt and Jeffrey Thurnher, among several others.

Readings: Jeffrey S. Thurnher on Law of Armed Conflict Applied to Autonomous Weapon Systems

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Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 7:29 AM

The American Society of International Law has released a new “ASIL Insight” on law applicable to autonomous weapon systems.  (ASIL Insights are short, descriptive pieces on topical issues meant as non-technical “backgrounders” for journalists, the general public, and anyone looking for a quick path into an international law topic; they represent solely the author’s views, . . .
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Readings: Bryant Walker Smith, “Automated Vehicles are Probably Legal in the United States”

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Bryant Walker Smith (a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society) has authored a new CIS White Paper on whether self-driving cars are, or can be, legal in the United States.  His answer is … Automated Vehicles are Probably Legal in the United States. This is less obvious and more legally complicated than you . . .
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