We Robot: The Uncertainty of Drones

April 2, 2014

9:00 am

What is it with our fascination of robots taking over the world? A future where our streets will be protected by Robocops, and cars are automated without you having to touch the steering wheel. Is this perception of the future far-fetched?

According to University of Miami School of Law Professor Michael Froomkin, we may be getting closer to this reality.

“We need to start thinking of the standards of building robots. We believe robots are going to be a major technology of the future,” explains Froomkin.

It’s been all over the news, the debate around drones being used for military and commercial needs. Technically called “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAVs), drones are just aircraft without human pilots onboard. The Federal Aviation Administration recently released a “Road Map” to integrate drones into civilian airspace by 2015 and sparking a nationwide debate about their use. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos shared in various news outlets his next major project, Amazon Prime Air, which will have drones deliver your packages to your doorstep in less than 30 minutes.

“If there is one defining word for the whole situation involving drone over flight is uncertainty. That is something that legally we can solve, we can write certainty with rules, and that is what the conference is for,” he explains.

The country’s top robotic scholars are meeting at the We Robot 2014 conference in Miami, April 4th-5th, to discuss the role of robotics and their widespread deployment on our everyday life.  The conversation will focus on robotics law and policy, and the governance of emerging technologies. The topics will range from something as complex as legality of “drones” in your property by state, to what does it mean for your health care to have house-like medical diagnostician like IBM’s Watson EMR Assistant. You can listen to the discussions on their livestream.

So will robots take over the world? Most likely not, but they are definitely going to be doing more than delivering your mail.

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Camila has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she is a co-host of a local radio show called pFunkcast. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.

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