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New Laws of Robotics

Defending Human Expertise in the Age of AI

Frank Pasquale



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The Belknap Press
27 October 2020
AI is poised to disrupt our work and our lives. We can harness these technologies rather than fall captive to them?but only through wise regulation.

Too many CEOs tell a simple story about the future of work: if a machine can do what you do, your job will be automated. They envision everyone from doctors to soldiers rendered superfluous by ever-more-powerful AI. They offer stark alternatives: make robots or be replaced by them.

Another story is possible. In virtually every walk of life, robotic systems can make labor more valuable, not less. Frank Pasquale tells the story of nurses, teachers, designers, and others who partner with technologists, rather than meekly serving as data sources for their computerized replacements. This cooperation reveals the kind of technological advance that could bring us all better health care, education, and more, while maintaining meaningful work. These partnerships also show how law and regulation can promote prosperity for all, rather than a zero-sum race of humans against machines.

How far should AI be entrusted to assume tasks once performed by humans? What is gained and lost when it does? What is the optimal mix of robotic and human interaction? New Laws of Robotics makes the case that policymakers must not allow corporations or engineers to answer these questions alone. The kind of automation we get?and who it benefits?will depend on myriad small decisions about how to develop AI. Pasquale proposes ways to democratize that decision making, rather than centralize it in unaccountable firms. Sober yet optimistic, New Laws of Robotics offers an inspiring vision of technological progress, in which human capacities and expertise are the irreplaceable center of an inclusive economy.
By:   Frank Pasquale
Imprint:   The Belknap Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 210mm,  Width: 140mm, 
ISBN:   9780674975224
ISBN 10:   0674975227
Pages:   344
Publication Date:   27 October 2020
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Frank Pasquale is Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School and author of The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information. His work has appeared in the Atlantic, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Guardian, and other outlets.

Reviews for New Laws of Robotics: Defending Human Expertise in the Age of AI

Thought-provoking...Explores how we can best try to ensure that robots work for us, rather than against us, and proposes a new set of laws to provide a conceptual framework for our thinking on the subject. * Financial Times * Pasquale calls for a society-wide reengineering of policy, politics, economics, and labor relations to set technology on a more regulated and egalitarian path...Makes a good case for injecting more bureaucracy into our techno-dreams, if we really want to make the world a better place. * Wired * Pasquale has explored the myriad ways that technological advances affect how we work, what media we consume, how law is made and enforced, and much more. He brings a refreshingly philosophical, even spiritual, perspective to these discussions, while concretely addressing the problems that arise when robots advance into hospitals, schools, and militaries. -- Lawrence Joseph * Commonweal * We are careening toward a future where machines rule and people are diminished and excluded. In this jewel of a book, Frank Pasquale demonstrates beyond doubt that a machine future is neither inevitable nor desirable, but he does not stop there. Instead, he judiciously constructs the urgently needed alternative, outlining the principles and practices-for technology, public policy, and law-that set us on a new trajectory toward a humane digital future. Citizens and lawmakers, read this book as if our future depends upon it. This is the rare case when it actually does. -- Shoshana Zuboff, author of <i>The Age of Surveillance Capitalism</i> Frank Pasquale is one of the leading voices on the uneven and often unfair consequences of AI in our society. In this insightful new work, he explains how we can protect workers and foster a world free from harmful and discriminatory technologies. Every policymaker should read this book and seek his counsel. -- Safiya Noble, author of <i>Algorithms of Oppression</i> In a way, Pasquale's impassioned pleas...on behalf of the endangered human world make him a mythic hero. He's on a quest, fighting lazy thinking and influential tech behemoths...I was inspired by the innovative, richly supported, and poetic descriptions in New Laws of Robotics. Far from being the product of a natural language processing algorithm, this book could have been written only by a creative, passionate, persistent person. Frank Pasquale has done much to raise awareness of how important it is to value expertise, appreciate human abilities, avoid technological arms races, and take responsibility for the technologies humans create. -- Ben Shneiderman * Issues in Science and Technology * In Frank Pasquale's bold and humane vision of robotics and artificial intelligence, technology transforms our lives for the better. It works with people and for people, instead of imitating or displacing them. It promotes social cooperation rather than ruthless competition. It improves the professions instead of unraveling them. Drawing on examples from health, finance, education, policing, and social media, Pasquale shows how realizing his new laws of robotics will require us to reimagine our economy, our uses of knowledge, and our ways of life. -- Jack M. Balkin, Director, The Information Society Project at Yale Law School Frank Pasquale is not only one of the most prescient legal scholars in the world today, he's one of the most humane. In this much-needed new book, he lays out a simple and wise framework for governing the coming world of AI and robotics-one that will put technology in service to humanity, rather than the other way around. -- Rana Foroohar, author of <i>Don't Be Evil</i> Compelling, insightful, and balanced, New Laws of Robotics reveals the difficult choices we face in a time of increased automation. Underscoring the complex incentives and power imbalances in robotics and AI, Frank Pasquale makes a powerful and urgent case for a more democratic and equitable approach to regulating this space. -- Kate Crawford, cofounder of the AI Now Institute at New York University Frank Pasquale provides a much-needed antidote to the 'disrupt first, ask questions later' approach that plagues the tech industry. His message is urgently important: automation can benefit society, but only if we plan ahead and apply human, social intelligence to designing the artificial kind. This is a compelling must-read for anyone interested in the future of automation, and should be compulsory for anyone involved in developing, implementing, or regulating that technology. -- Mark Andrejevic, author of <i>Automated Media</i> Pasquale's New Laws of Robotics presents a hopeful vision of the AI future, predicated on cooperative relations and inclusive prosperity. Engaging, evocative, and filled with new insights, Pasquale's book is a must read for policymakers. -- Marc Rotenberg, Director, Center for AI and Digital Policy

  • Short-listed for PROSE Awards 2021 (United States)

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