592 Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics

Robots, with us for several generations already, were long confined to narrow uses and trained users, assembling our vehicles and moving our products behind the scenes. In recent years, robotic tools have begun to step out of the back room and take center stage. Even more, these tools are fueled by constantly advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that allow them to participate in the world of the mind as much as the world of muscle. Are we ready? Probably not. In order to capture the full opportunities and benefits of AI & robotics, surely our legal systems and ethical frameworks must evolve. We must find ways to ensure that human-robot interactions occur in ways that are safe and are consistent with our cultural values. We must take care that our policies and laws provide artificial intelligence tools with the direction we need without quashing or hindering the innovations that could improve our lives.

The course will bring together three core areas: (1) law, (2) ethics, and (3) applied technology. Because frontier technologies challenge existing legal regimes and ethical frameworks, this course and its assigned project encourage law, ethics, and policy students to interact with networks of experts who are actively thinking about ethical technology development and with technology policy networks that explore the social implications of a world increasingly inclusive of AI.

Beyond time spent for class preparation and in-class time, each student in Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics will be required to complete a substantial research-based Report that demonstrates a deep, research-based understanding of a topic about which the student shall become knowledgeable such that he/she could take part meaningfully in and contribute to present-day discussions of law, policy, and ethics in the topic area. This Report may qualify for the JD SRWP degree requirement or the International LLM writing requirement upon permission of the instructor.

NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE OR TECHNOLOGY IS NEEDED FOR THIS COURSE.

NOTES ON COVID:
Coursework will be delivered entirely online. Nonetheless, the community that has always developed among the interdisciplinary participants (law, tech-ethics, public policy, etc.) of this course is one of its primary goals and benefits. As such:

1.Online sessions will involve substantial participation in small breakout groups that allow for close collaboration on solving real-world problems; and

2.Participation in synchronous sessions on Mondays from 2:00 to 4:45pm ET will remain a significant % of the final grade assessment; and

NOTES ON COMPLEMENTARY COURSE

Also available this semester is Practicing Law with AI and Big Data.

Course Areas of Practice
Evaluation Methods
Reflective Writing
Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
In-class exercise
Class participation
Degree Requirements
Course Type
Seminar
Learning Outcomes
Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context
Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession
2021
Spring 2021
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

592.02 3
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation
Jeff Ward M 2:00 PM-4:45 PM

Robots, with us for several generations already, were long confined to narrow uses and trained users, assembling our vehicles and moving our products behind the scenes. In recent years, robotic tools have begun to step out of the back room and take center stage. Even more, these tools are fueled by constantly advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that allow them to participate in the world of the mind as much as the world of muscle. Are we ready? Probably not. In order to capture the full opportunities and benefits of AI & robotics, surely our legal systems and ethical frameworks must evolve. We must find ways to ensure that human-robot interactions occur in ways that are safe and are consistent with our cultural values. We must take care that our policies and laws provide artificial intelligence tools with the direction we need without quashing or hindering the innovations that could improve our lives.

The course will bring together three core areas: (1) law, (2) ethics, and (3) applied technology. Because frontier technologies challenge existing legal regimes and ethical frameworks, this course and its assigned project encourage law, ethics, and policy students to interact with networks of experts who are actively thinking about ethical technology development and with technology policy networks that explore the social implications of a world increasingly inclusive of AI.

Beyond time spent for class preparation and in-class time, each student in Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics will be required to complete a substantial research-based Report that demonstrates a deep, research-based understanding of a topic about which the student shall become knowledgeable such that he/she could take part meaningfully in and contribute to present-day discussions of law, policy, and ethics in the topic area. This Report may qualify for the JD SRWP degree requirement or the International LLM writing requirement upon permission of the instructor.

NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE OR TECHNOLOGY IS NEEDED FOR THIS COURSE.

NOTES ON COVID:
Coursework will be delivered entirely online. Nonetheless, the community that has always developed among the interdisciplinary participants (law, tech-ethics, public policy, etc.) of this course is one of its primary goals and benefits. As such:

1.Online sessions will involve substantial participation in small breakout groups that allow for close collaboration on solving real-world problems; and

2.Participation in synchronous sessions on Mondays from 2:00 to 4:45pm ET will remain a significant % of the final grade assessment; and

NOTES ON COMPLEMENTARY COURSE

Also available this semester is Practicing Law with AI and Big Data.

Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
2020
Fall 2020
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

592.01 3
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation
Jeff Ward W 4:00 PM-6:45 PM

Robots, with us for several generations already, were long confined to narrow uses and trained users, assembling our vehicles and moving our products behind the scenes. In recent years, robotic tools have begun to step out of the back room and take center stage. Even more, these tools are fueled by constantly advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that allow them to participate in the world of the mind as much as the world of muscle. Are we ready? Probably not. In order to capture the full opportunities and benefits of AI & robotics, surely our legal systems and ethical frameworks must evolve. We must find ways to ensure that human-robot interactions occur in ways that are safe and are consistent with our cultural values. We must take care that our policies and laws provide artificial intelligence tools with the direction we need without quashing or hindering the innovations that could improve our lives.

The course will bring together three core areas: (1) law, (2) ethics, and (3) applied technology. Because frontier technologies challenge existing legal regimes and ethical frameworks, this course and its assigned project encourage law, ethics, and policy students to interact with technologists who are actively thinking about ethical technology development and with technology policy networks that explore the social implications of a world increasingly inclusive of AI.

Beyond time spent with such networks, time spent for class preparation, and in-class time, each student in Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics will be required to complete a substantial research-based Report that demonstrates a deep, research-based understanding of a topic about which the student shall become knowledgeable such that he/she could take part meaningfully in and contribute to present-day discussions of law, policy, and ethics in the topic area. This Report may qualify for the SRWP requirement upon permission of the instructor.

NOTES ON COVID:
Coursework will be delivered entirely online. Nonetheless, the community that has always developed among the interdisciplinary participants (law, tech-ethics, public policy, etc.) of this course is one of its primary goals and benefits. As such:

  1. Online sessions will involve substantial participation in small breakout groups that allow for close collaboration on solving real-world problems;
  2. Participation in synchronous sessions on Wednesdays from 4:00 to 6:45pm ET will remain a significant % of the final grade assessment; and
  3. Supplementary, optional opportunities for in-person engagement—such as holding group office hours at the Law School of on a walk around the Washington Duke trail, conditions permitting—with equal opportunities for students who are remote.
Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
Spring 2020
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

592.01 3
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation
Jeff Ward M 2:00PM - 4:45PM 3000

Robots, with us for several generations already, were long confined to narrow uses and trained users, assembling our vehicles and moving our products behind the scenes. In recent years, robotic tools have begun to step out of the back room and take center stage. Even more, these tools are fueled by constantly advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that allow them to participate in the world of the mind as much as the world of muscle. Are we ready? Probably not. Surely our legal systems and ethical frameworks must evolve. We must find ways to ensure that human-robot interactions occur in ways that are safe and are consistent with our cultural values. We must take care that our policies and laws provide artificial intelligence tools with the direction we need without quashing or hindering the innovations that could improve our lives.

The course will bring together three core areas: (1) law, (2) ethics/science policy, and (3) applied technology/science

Because frontier technologies challenge existing legal regimes and ethical frameworks, this course encourages law and ethics students to interact with technologists who are actively developing these new, disruptive technologies. In this case, students may shadow roboticists at Pratt's robotics labs (primarily the Humans and Autonomy Lab—HAL) or hear from leaders of local drone or BCI (brain-computer interface) companies.

Beyond time spent with technologists, time spent for class preparation, and in-class time, each student in Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics will be required to complete a substantial research-based writing piece that adds to current legal/policy discourse. While outputs for such writing will depend on each student's area of focus and the outlets where his or her research can have the most influence, there are several outlets that students are most likely to employ, including the Robotics track of http://sciencepolicy.duke.edu/, where students will comment on legislative proposals, offer white papers, build research repositories, etc.

Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
2019
Fall 2019
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

592.01 3
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation
Jeff Ward W 4:00-6:45 PM 4000

Robots, with us for several generations already, were long confined to narrow uses and trained users, assembling our vehicles and moving our products behind the scenes. In recent years, robotic tools have begun to step out of the back room and take center stage. Even more, these tools are fueled by constantly advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that allow them to participate in the world of the mind as much as the world of muscle. Are we ready? Probably not. Surely our legal systems and ethical frameworks must evolve. We must find ways to ensure that human-robot interactions occur in ways that are safe and are consistent with our cultural values. We must take care that our policies and laws provide artificial intelligence tools with the direction we need without quashing or hindering the innovations that could improve our lives.

The course will bring together three core areas: (1) law, (2) ethics/science policy, and (3) applied technology/science

Because frontier technologies challenge existing legal regimes and ethical frameworks, this course encourages law and ethics students to interact with technologists who are actively developing these new, disruptive technologies. In this case, students may shadow roboticists at Pratt's robotics labs (primarily the Humans and Autonomy Lab—HAL) or hear from leaders of local drone or BCI (brain-computer interface) companies.

Beyond time spent with technologists, time spent for class preparation, and in-class time, each student in Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics will be required to complete a substantial research-based writing piece that adds to current legal/policy discourse. While outputs for such writing will depend on each student's area of focus and the outlets where his or her research can have the most influence, there are several outlets that students are most likely to employ, including the Robotics track of http://sciencepolicy.duke.edu/, where students will comment on legislative proposals, offer white papers, build research repositories, etc.

Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
Spring 2019
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

592.01 3
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation
Jeff Ward W 2:00-4:45 PM 4045

Robots, with us for several generations already, were long confined to narrow uses and trained users, assembling our vehicles and moving our products behind the scenes. In recent years, robotic tools have begun to step out of the back room and take center stage. Even more, these tools are fueled by constantly advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that allow them to participate in the world of the mind as much as the world of muscle. Are we ready? Probably not. Surely our legal systems and ethical frameworks must evolve. We must find ways to ensure that human-robot interactions occur in ways that are safe and are consistent with our cultural values. We must take care that our policies and laws provide artificial intelligence tools with the direction we need without quashing or hindering the innovations that could improve our lives.

The course will bring together three core areas: (1) law, (2) ethics/science policy, and (3) applied technology/science

Because frontier technologies challenge existing legal regimes and ethical frameworks, this course encourages law and ethics students to interact with technologists who are actively developing these new, disruptive technologies. In this case, students may shadow roboticists at Pratt's robotics labs (primarily the Humans and Autonomy Lab—HAL) or hear from leaders of local drone or BCI (brain-computer interface) companies.

Beyond time spent with technologists, time spent for class preparation, and in-class time, each student in Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics will be required to complete a substantial research-based writing piece that adds to current legal/policy discourse. While outputs for such writing will depend on each student's area of focus and the outlets where his or her research can have the most influence, there are several outlets that students are most likely to employ, including the Robotics track of http://sciencepolicy.duke.edu/, where students will comment on legislative proposals, offer white papers, build research repositories, etc.

Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
2018
Spring 2018
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

592.01 3
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation
Jeff Ward W 2:00-4:45 PM 4045

Robots, with us for several generations already, were long confined to narrow uses and trained users, assembling our vehicles and moving our products behind the scenes. In recent years, robotic tools have begun to step out of the back room and take center stage. Even more, these tools are fueled by constantly advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that allow them to participate in the world of the mind as much as the world of muscle. Are we ready? Probably not. Surely our legal systems and ethical frameworks must evolve. We must find ways to ensure that human-robot interactions occur in ways that are safe and are consistent with our cultural values. We must take care that our policies and laws provide artificial intelligence tools with the direction we need without quashing or hindering the innovations that could improve our lives.

The course will bring together three core areas: (1) law, (2) ethics/science policy, and (3) applied technology/science

Because frontier technologies challenge existing legal regimes and ethical frameworks, this course encourages law and ethics students to interact with technologists who are actively developing these new, disruptive technologies. In this case, students may shadow roboticists at Pratt's robotics labs (primarily the Humans and Autonomy Lab—HAL) or hear from leaders of local drone or BCI (brain-computer interface) companies.

Beyond time spent with technologists, time spent for class preparation, and in-class time, each student in Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics will be required to complete a substantial research-based writing piece that adds to current legal/policy discourse. While outputs for such writing will depend on each student's area of focus and the outlets where his or her research can have the most influence, there are several outlets that students are most likely to employ, including the Robotics track of http://sciencepolicy.duke.edu/, where students will comment on legislative proposals, offer white papers, build research repositories, etc.

 

Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
2017
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

592.01 3
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation
Jeff Ward W 1:45-4:30 PM Science & Society Classroom, 2nd Floor North Building

Robots, with us for several generations already, were long confined to narrow uses and trained users, assembling our vehicles and moving our products behind the scenes. In recent years, robotic tools have begun to step out of the back room and take center stage. Are we ready? Probably not. Surely our legal systems and ethical frameworks must evolve. We must find ways to ensure that human-robot interactions occur in ways that are safe and are consistent with our cultural values. We must take care that our policies and laws provide the direction we need without quashing or hindering the innovations that could improve our lives.

The course will bring together three core areas: (1) law, (2) ethics/science policy, and (3) applied technology/science

Because frontier technologies challenge existing legal regimes and ethical frameworks, this course pairs law and ethics students to "shadow" technologists who are actively developing these new, disruptive technologies. In this case, students will shadow roboticists at Pratt's robotics labs (primarily the Humans and Autonomy Lab—HAL—but other labs may be added if appropriate).

Beyond lab time with roboticists, time spent for class preparation, and in-class time, each student will be required to complete a substantial research-based writing piece that adds to current legal/policy discourse. While outputs for such writing will depend on each student's area of focus and the outlets where his or her research can have the most influence, there are several outlets that students are most likely to employ. Chief among these is outlets is the Robotics track of http://sciencepolicy.duke.edu/, where students will comment on legislative proposals, offer white papers, build research repositories, etc.

Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.