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GRS: Robot Revolution - Japan (Feldman)
Fall 2019   LAW 945-001  

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Meeting Times/Location
M 1:00PM - 3:00PM
Tanenbaum Hall 253

Eric A. Feldman

Heimbold Chair in International Law, Professor of Law; Professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy; Deputy Dean for International Programs

Additional Information

Skills Training
Team Projects

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement

With Permission of Instructor

Course Continuity
Students are encouraged to stay home if you are ill or experience flu-like symptoms. If you miss a class for any reason, it is still your responsibility to make up the work missed.

I offer the following to students who miss class due to illness:

- If you are absent, due to illness or some other unavoidable circumstance, email me and I can ask for volunteers among your classmates to share their notes with you.



What can we do about rapidly aging populations, a shrinking workforce, too few doctors and nurses, high rates of highway fatalities, decreases in industrial production, autonomous weapons systems, restrictive immigration policies, emotional isolation, and other vexing 21st century challenges? Government and industry leaders in both Japan and the United States have a single answer—Robots. Both countries are at the forefront of the global race to develop robots, and both have presented blueprints for how robots will solve their most challenging social problems. Yet neither country has developed a legal or policy structure that addresses the complex challenges presented by rapid advances in robotics. Can robots be held accountable for crimes? Should they be entrusted with important policy decisions? Do we want them to perform surgery, do our taxes, and work as lawyers? Can they be held liable for negligent acts when piloting a moving vehicle? Are they subject to strict product liability? Are they able to vanquish our enemies and keep us safe? Can they provide emotional and even sexual fulfillment? With the global race to develop robots at full throttle, and the Japanese government determined to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games as a showcase for Japanese robotics, these questions have taken on a new sense of urgency. This innovative class will focus on the current state of robot technology and development in the US and Japan and explore the rapidly evolving legal and regulatory climate surrounding robotics. We will read cutting-edge scholarship on artificial intelligence and machine learning, study state-of-the-art humanoid robots, examine robot-related litigation, and consider the range of legal and policy options for managing the inevitable (but often unknowable) conflicts that will emerge because of the robot revolution. Because we are working in a nascent area of scholarship, students will have the opportunity to do original research on unexplored topics and may be able to publish their work.

SCHEDULE This course will meet weekly on Mondays from 1:00-3:00pm (tentative) during the fall 2019 semester. Some classes will host distinguished guest speakers with expertise in robotics, artificial intelligence, technology, and law. The class will spend the week of November 11-15, 2019 in Tokyo meeting with government regulators, industry leaders, engineers, attorneys, scholars, and other experts in order to obtain an in-depth and up-to-date understanding of the development and regulation of robots in Japan. Please note that Penn Law will be in session that week, and students in the GRS will be missing their regularly scheduled classes. In order to be eligible for this class, students must be able to attend the entirety of this research trip.

Here is a link to the full course details: https://www.law.upenn.edu/international/global-research-seminars/japan-2019.php

Course Concentrations

International and Comparative Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of international and comparative law, both substantively and procedurally; Perform legal analysis in the context of international and comparative law; Communicate effectively on topics related to international and comparative law; Demonstrate an understanding of the role of international and comparative law, and their interconnection with domestic law.