Robots as Media
Department of Media Studies and Film
The New School
Spring 2012

Instructor: Peter Asaro asarop AT
TA: Peter Rood roodp905 AT
Time: Thursday, 8:00 - 9:50 pm
Location: R Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th room 518

Course webpage is here:

Course blog is here:

Course Description

As robots begin to move outside of factories and into a variety of new roles—from vacuuming floors to performing surgeries, disarming bombs, and driving cars—it is clear that they represent a radical new form of mediated information and agency. Predator drone robots have become the primary tool of the U.S. government in its war on terror, and, at the same time, journalists continue to refer to military robots as “Terminators.” These observations raise the question of how our ongoing development and use of robotic media is being shaped by media representations of robotics. This course examines the complex relationship between robots and the media, from both the perspective of representations of robots in the media—including film, television, and news media—and the development of robots as a new form of media. In the first part of the course we consider the types of narrative roles that robots have occupied, as well as how the concepts of robotics and automation are reflected in the social and cultural contexts in which those media are produced. The second part of the course explores recent developments in robotics as forms of digital media, both continuous with and distinct from other types of digital media. We assess how contemporary debates about the potential uses and social impacts of robotic media intersect with popular narratives about robotics, both pessimistic and optimistic. The class also considers what makes contemporary discourses on robotics unique, and what that might tell us about contemporary society and culture. Course materials include readings from a variety of popular, academic, and literary sources—among them texts by Katherine Hayles, Ken Goldberg, Rodney Brooks and Philip K. Dick—and video clips from TV and films including Blade Runner, Robo-Cop, Battlestar Galactica, Surrogates, and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. Students are expected to produce a short mid-term, and longer final assignment—either a research paper, film or digital media project.

OFFICE HOURS: By Appointment

Please email me to setup an appointment.



Class Attendance and Participation: 20%
Blog Entries & Comments: 40%
Final Paper: 40%


Class Attendance and Participation: 20%

You are expected to have thoroughly and thoughtfully read the assigned texts and to have prepared yourself to contribute meaningfully to the class discussions. For some people, that preparation requires taking copious notes on or abstracting the assigned readings; for others, it entails supplementing the assigned readings with explanatory texts found in survey textbooks or in online sources; and for others still, it involves reading the texts, ruminating on them afterwards, then discussing those readings with classmates before the class meeting. Whatever method best suits you, I hope you arrive at class with copies of the assigned reading, ready and willing to make yourself a valued contributor to the discussion, and eager to share your own relevant media experiences and interests. Your participation will be evaluated in terms of both quantity and quality.

There will also be several in-class presentations, which will contribute to you grade. The first short presentation will count for 5 points towards class participation, with attendence each week counting for 1 point. Each week we will designate an individual to present one of the "theory" papers assigned for the following week. We will start the next class with their presentations.

As this is a seminar course, regular attendance is essential. You will be permitted two excused absences (you must notify me of your inability to attend before class, via email or phone). Any subsequent absences and any un-excused absences will adversely affect your grade.


Short Projects & Blog Assignments: 40%

You will be required to make blog entries each week. Usually this will require you to conduct a short research project or exercise, and then report on it with a brief summary on the blog. Sometimes, the weekly assignment will simply ask you to comment on the readings for the week, or answer a question. Regardless, the assignment for the week will appear on right column of the blog.

You will be required to create an account on WordPress, and send me an email with the EMAIL ADDRESS used to creat the account, so that you can be added as authors for the collective course blog. Everyone will be posting to a common blog page, and this will be readable by your classmates, but access will be limited to only other class members, and not the whole internet. When writing and making comments, you are expected to treat other students with the same respect and courtesy as you should in the classroom. You are also expected to respect rules of academic integrity, research ethics, and copyright when posting to the blog.

Blog assignments will not be graded, per se, but I will read them and occasionally comment on them myself, and they will be read by the Teaching Assistant.

Blog posts will be due before the start of each class. They are time stamped when you post them. On-time posts will receive 3 points, late posts will receive 1.5 points. With 10 blog assignments, there are 30 points possible for the blogs.

In addition to posting your own entry each week, you are require to post at least 2 comments each week on the entries of other students. Because some students wait to post their entires, these are not strictly due before class, and do not have a strict deadline. But you should get in the habit of posting two comments each week. Each comment will receive 0.5 points each with 10 points possible

Discussion questions for the next week will be posted shortly after each class.


Final: 40%
(Proposal=10%, Paper=30%)

Proposals Due: March 29
Length: 1000 words (approx. 2-3 pages)

Paper Due: May 10
Length: 3000-5000 words (approx. 12-15 pages)

There will be no final exam. Instead, a 3000-5000 word (Times New Roman, 12pt font, double spaced) term paper is due on Thursday, May 10th at 7:00PM. If that time will not work for you, you need to make other arrangements by Thursday, May 3rd at the latest.

Paper topics can address any aspect of the topics and materials discussed in class. They can focus on the theories themselves, or in applying the theories to media phenomena. Papers should include materials beyond what is directly covered in class, as appropriate for your topic. The blog will provide many ideas for papers, as will class discussion. You will have to write a proposal for your paper by March 29, but you should be thinking about possible topics throughout the semester.

Your paper should be submitted to me in electronic form (Word Perfect, MS Word, PDF, HTML and plain TXT are all fine). Late papers will not be accepted, as I must turn in grades shortly thereafter.



Most of the films and TV programs that will be assigned are available from a variety of sources. Many are available through the New School Library on DVD. In addition, they can be purchased from most book or video stores, rented from most video shop, or found through Netflix. For the videos which cannot be obtained easily in these ways, other means will be provided for you to view these films prior to class.

If you are intersted in focusing on robots in cinema or TV for your final project, you will find many films and scholarly papers discussing them on a previous syllabus for this course:



All readings will be available electronically, via the web, in PDF, MS Word, HTML, or similar format.



Week 1: January 26
Course Introduction

Course Syllabus Overview

How to create a WordPress Account, and make a Blog Entry

Watch: Honda: Living with Robots, YouTube, 9 min.


Turing, A. M. (1950) "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," Mind 59, pp. 433-460.

Ashby, W. R. (1952) "Can a Mechanical Chess-player Outplay its Designer?," British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 3(9), pp. 44-57.


Part I: Our Robotic Future is Today

Week 2: February 2
The Robot Revolution


Bill Gates (2007) "A Robot in Every Home: The leader of the PC revolution predicts that the next hot field will be robotics," Scientific American, January 2007.

Hans Moravec (2009) "Rise of the Robots--The Future of Artificial Intelligence," Scientific American, March 23, 2009

Erik Sofge, "Can Robots Be Trusted?"Popular Mechanics, Feb 2010, Vol. 187 Issue 2, pp. 54-61.

Bruce Bower, "Meet the Growbots: Social robots take baby steps toward humanlike smarts," Science News,
January 29th, 2011; Vol.179 #3, p. 18.

Watch: Rodney Brooks says robots will invade our lives, Ted Talk 2003, 19 min.

Watch: BBC Horizon, Where's My Robot?, BBC, 2008, 50 min.


Microsoft Robotics Studio

Willow Garage ROS (Robot Operating System)

Hans Moravec (2001) "Robots: Re-evolving Minds at 10^7 Times Nature's Speed," Cerebrum 3 (2), Spring 2001, pp. 34-49.

Hans Moravec (1999) "The Age of Robots", Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, 127-162.

Douglas Rolfe (1934) "Robot Planes to Fight Enemy Air Raiders," Modern Mechanix, July 1934.

Richard Dempewolff (1949) "Robots ARE People!" Mechanix Illustrated, March 1949.

D. S. Halacy, Jr. (1953) "Our Heartless Friends the Robots," Popular Electronics, May 1963.

Lester David (1953) "The Robots Are Coming!" Mechanix Illustrated, December 1953.

O. O. Binder (1957) "You’ll Own “Slaves” by 1965," Mechanix Illustrated, January 1957.

William Tenn (1958) "There Are Robots Among Us," Popular Electronics, December 1958, pp. 48-52.

(1968) "The Robots are Coming, the Robots are Coming!"Time Magazine, June 14, 1968.

Steven K. Roberts (1982) "The Robotics Revoultion, Will You Survive?" Mechanix Illustrated, September 1982.

David D. Thornburg, (1983) "The Robots Are Coming," Compute Magazine, Issue 36, May, 1983, p. 28

ModernMechanix Blog, "Robots"

Watch: Dennis Hong: My seven species of robot, Ted Talk 2009, 16 min.


Week 3: February 9
Living in the Jetsonian Future: Smart-Homes & Roombas


Lynn Spigel (2005) "Designing the Smart House : Posthuman Domesticity and Conspicuous Production," European Journal of Cultural Studies, 2005 8: 403-426.

Mika Pantzar (2000) "Consumption as Work, Play, and Art: Representation of the Consumer in Future Scenarios," Design Issues, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 3-18.

A.J. Bernheim Brush, Bongshin Lee, Ratul Mahajan, Sharad Agarwal, Stefan Saroiu, Colin Dixon (2011) "Home Automation in the Wild: Challenges and Opportunities," Microsort Research Technical Report, CHI2011.

"Three Faces of At-Home AI", Strategic Finance, June 2005, 7.

Michael Rogers (2006) "Smart Homes Go Mass Market," The Practical Futurist Blog, MSNBC, April 10, 2006.

Steve Clayton (2011) "Microsoft Facility Helps You Make Yourself at Home in the Future",, August 8, 2011.

Ms. Smith (2011) "Microsoft’s automated Future Home, what can go wrong?", June 10, 2011.

Watch: "Inside Microsoft's Future Home", BBC TV, May 13, 2009, 3 min.


Genevieve Bell and Joseph Kaye (2002) "Designing Technology for Domestic Spaces: A Kitchen Manifesto," Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Spring 2002), pp. 46-62.

Lynn Spigel (2001) "Media Houses: Then and Now," International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2001, Volume 4(4): 385–411.

Sung, J. Y., L. Guo, R. Grinter, and H. I. Christensen (2007) "'My Roomba is Rambo': Intimate Home Appliances," in J. Krumm et al. (eds.) UbiComp 2007, LNCS 4717, pp. 145-162.

"Smart Rooms and Buildings," Fraunhofer Magazine, January, 2012.

Explore: Fraunhofer's InHaus in Duisberg-Essen, Germany

PECES: Pervasive Computing in Embedded Systems (A Project at InHaus)

iRobot Create platform

Explore: Chicago Museum of Science and Industry Smart Home

Watch: Donald Cammell, Demon Seed, MGM,1977,94 min.

Watch: Bryan Forbes, The Stepford Wives, Columbia Pictures, 1975, 115 min.

Watch: LeVar Burton, Smart House, Disney TV, 1999, 82 min.


Week 4: February 16
Self-Driving Cars


Sebastian Thrun (2010) "Toward robotic cars," Communications of the ACM, Volume 53 Issue 4, April 2010, pp. 99-106.

William J. Mitchell, "Critique (Robot Wheel)," Architectural Record, Aug 2007, Vol. 195 Issue 8, p55-56.

Phil Patton, (2012) "M.I.T. CityCar, Renamed Hiriko, Is Headed to Production," New York Times, January 25, 2012

Tom Vanderbilt (2012) "Let the Robot Drive: The Autonomous Car of the Future Is Here," Wired, January 20, 2012

Erico Guizzo, (2011) "How Google's Self-Driving Car Works," IEEE Spectrum Automation Blog, October 18, 2011.

Erico Guizzo, (2011) "Nevada Bill Would Provide Tentative Roadmap for Autonomous Vehicles," IEEE Spectrum Automation Blog, April 29, 2011.

John Markoff (2011) "Google Lobbies Nevada to Allow Self-Driving Car," New York Times, May 10, 2011.

John Markoff (2012) "When Self-Driving Cars and the Real World Collide," New York Times, January 23, 2012.

Watch: The Evolution of Self-Driving Cars, YouTube, 20 min.

Watch: The DARPA Grand Challenge, YouTube, 11 min.

Explore: Navlab: The Carnegie Mellon University Navigation Laboratory


Pericle Salvini, et al. (2010) "An Investigation on Legal Regulations for Robot Deployment in Urban Areas: A Focus on Italian Law," Advanced Robotics, 24 (2010) 1901–1917.

DARPA Urban Grand Challenge website

Watch: The DARPA Grand Urban Challenge Champion, YouTube, 3 min.

Michael Montemerlo, et al. (2008) "Junior: The Stanford Entry in the Urban Challenge," Journal of Field Robotics, Volume 25, Issue 9, pp.

Ernst D. Dickmanns (1997) "Vehicles Capable of Dynamic Vision," Proceedings IJCAI, 1997.

Watch: Ernst Dickmanns (2011) Keynote Lecture, YouTube, 77 min.

Prof. Schmidhuber's highlights of robot car history

Watch: CS373: Programming a Robotic Car, Youtube, 1 min.

Latour, Bruno (1996) Aramis: or The Love of Technology, Harvard University Press.


Week 5: February 23
Fears of Automation


David F. Noble (1995) Progress Without People: New Technology, Unemployment and the Message of Resistance, Toronto, Canada: Between the Lines Press.

Herbert A. Simon (1965) "Chapters 1 and 2", The Shape of Automation for Men and Management, New York: Harper & Row, 1965, pp. 1-52.

Peter Miller and Ted O'Leary (1994) "Accounting, "Economic Citizenship" and the Spatil Reordering of Manufacture," Accounting, Organization, and Society, Vol 19, No. 1, pp. 15-43.

Astrid Weiss, et al. (2009) "Looking forward to a ”robotic society”? - Imaginations of future human-robot relationships," HRPR09.

Shoshana Zuboff, "The Abstraction of Industrial Work," In In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power, New York: Basic Books, 1988: 58-6.


Robert J. Thomas, "Technology as a Power Tool: Technology Choice in an Aircraft Company," In What Machines Can't Do: Politics and Technology in the Industrial Enterprise, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994: 41-87.

Watch: Paul Verhoeven, RoboCop, MGM, 1987, 102 min.

Watch: Michael Crichton, Westworld, MGM, 1973, 93 min.

Watch: James Cameron, The Terminator, Orion Pictures, 1984, 107 min.

Watch: Ron Howard, Gung Ho, Paramount, 1986, 112 min.

Robert F. Arnold, "Termination or Transformation? The "Terminator" Films and Recent Changes in the U. S. Auto Industry," Film Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 1 (Autumn, 1998), pp. 20-30.

Richard Powers, "What is Artificial Intelligence?", Op-Ed, New York Times, February 5, 2011.

David F. Noble, "A Technology of Social Production: Modern Management and the Expansion of Engineering", In America By Design: Science, Technology and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1977, pp. 257-324.

Lewis Yablonsky, Robopaths: People as Machines, Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books Inc., 1972.


Week 6: March 1
Healthcare & Surgical Robots
Possible Guest Lecture


Van Wynsberghe, A., & Gastmans, C. (2008) "Telesurgery: An ethical appraisal," Journal of Medical Ethics, 34, e22.

Jin, L. X., et al. (2011) "Robotic Surgery Claims on United States Hospital Websites," Journal for Healthcare Quality, 33: 48–52.

Watch: Catherine Mohr: Surgery's past, present and robotic future, 2010 TED talk, 19 min.

Watch: Robotic Surgery Demonstration Using Da Vinci Surgical System, YouTube, 5 min.

Watch: Seattle Doctor Folds and Throws Paper Airplane Using da Vinci Robot, YouTube, 3 min.

Explore: The Intuitive Surgical Website

Explore: The DaVinci Surgery Website

Gina Kolata, "Results Unproven, Robot Surgery Wins Converts," New York Times, February 13, 2010.

Tara Parker-Pope, "Hospitals with Robots do More Prostate Cancer Surgeries," New York Times, March 11, 2011.


"A Consensus Document on Robotic Surgery," Position Papers/Statements published on: 11/2007 by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES)

Prof P.R. Koninckx and Drssa A. Ussia (2010) "Robotic surgery is not superior and potentially dangerous."


Week 7: March 8
Robot Companions: Emotions, Eldercare & Childcare


Aimee van Wynsberghe (2011) "Designing Robots for Care: Care Centered Value-Sensitive Design," Science and Engineering Ethics.

Shannon Vallor (2011) "Carebots and Caregivers: Sustaining the Ethical Ideal of Care in the Twenty-First Century," Journal of Philosophy of Technology, 24, 251–268.

Noel Sharkey and Amanda Sharkey (2010) "The crying shame of robot nannies: an ethical appraisal " IS.

Amanda Sharkey and Noel Sharkey (2010) "Granny and the robots: ethical issues in robot care for the elderly," Ethics and Information Technology.

Sherry Turkle, (2006) "A Nascent Robotics Culture: New Complicities for Companionship," AAAI Technical Report Series, July 2006.

Interview with Sherry Turkle "What Will Love Come to Mean?"

David Hansen, "Why We Should Build Humanlike Robots", IEEE Spectrum, April 1, 2011.



Watch: Craig Gillespie, Lars and the Real Girl, 2007, 106 min.

Watch: David Hanson: Robots that "show emotion", 2010 TED talk, 5 min.

Watch: Caleb Chung plays with Pleo, 2010 TED talk

Fellous, J. M. (2004) "From Human Emotions to Robot Emotions," American Association for Artificial Intelligence Spring Symposium 3/2004, Stanford University Keynote Lecture.

Sloman, A. and M. Croucher (1981) "Why Robots Will Have Emotions," Proceedings of IJCAI, Vancouver.

"Emotion" MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.

"Emotion" in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


Spring Break March 14-18
Week of March 15

Part II: The Social, Ethical and Legal Impacts of Robotics

Week 8: March 22
Sexuality, Fetish and the Uncanny Valley


Watch: Peter Asaro, Love Machine, Kaiczech and Savario, 2001, 110 min.

Peter Asaro and Katie Vann (2008). "Pornomechanics: Sex Robots and the Mechanisms of Love," in Johannes Grenzfurthner, Günther Fieslinger and Daniel Fabry (eds.) prOnnovation? Pornography and Technological Innovation, San Francisco, CA: RE/Search Publications, pp. 16-29.

Watch: Allison De Fren, ASFR, 2001, 7 min.

Allison de Fren, "Technofetishism and the Uncanny Desires of the A.S.F.R. (," Science Fiction Studies, 2009, 36: 404-440.

David Levy (2011) "Ethics of Robotic Prostitution," Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics, MIT Press, pp. 223-231.

Evan Ackerman (2012) "Animatronic Robot Baby Cannot Be Unseen," IEEE Spectrum, January 21, 2012.


Brian Fung (2012) "The Uncanny Valley: What Robot Theory Tells Us About Mitt Romney," The Atlantic, January 31, 2012.

Allison de Fren, "The Anatomical Gaze in Tomorrow's Eve," Science Fiction Studies, 2009, 36: 235-265.

Jane O'Sullivan, "Virtual Metamorphoses: Cosmetic and Cybernetic Revisions of Pygmalion's "Living Doll," Arethusa, Volume 41, Number 1, Winter 2008, 133-156.

Watch: Allison De Fren, The Mechanical Bride, rough cut, forthcoming.

Watch: David Levy "Love and Sex with Robots" Interview, The Colbert Report, 2007.

Watch: Errol Morris, Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, Sony Pictures Classics, 1997, 80 min.


Week 9: March 29
Robot Ethics & Design


Peter Asaro (2009) "What Should We Want from a Robot Ethic?," in Rafael Capurro and Michael Nagenborg (eds.) Ethics and Robotics, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: IOS Press.

Peter Asaro (2009) "Modeling the Moral User: Designing Ethical Interfaces for Tele-Operation," IEEE Technology & Society, 28 (1), 20-24.

Don Norman (2003) Emotional Design, Chapter 7 The Future of Robots.

Wendell Wallach and Colin Allen, "Does Humanity Want Computers Making Moral Decisions" and "Can (Ro)bots Really be Moral?" in Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 57-71.

Watch: "Interrogation Robot," (2011), San Jose State University, YouTube, 6 min.

Watch: "No Robots," (2011), Yunghan Chang, Vimeo, 6 min.

Watch: "Ken Goldberg - Can Robots Inspire Us To Be Better Humans?", TEDx, 18 min.


Rodney Brooks, "Them and Us," "Us as Them," and "Epilogue," in Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us, New York: Pantheon Books, 2002, pp. 197-239.

Richard Kelley, et al. (2010) "Liability in Robotics: An International Perspective on Robots as Animals," Advanced Robotics 24 (2010) 1861–1871.

Peter Asaro (2011). "A Body to Kick, But Still No Soul to Damn: Legal Perspectives on Robotics," in Patrick Lin, Keith Abney, and George Bekey (eds.) Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 169-186.

Peter Asaro (2000). "Transforming Society by Transforming Technology: The Science and Politics of Participatory Design," Accounting, Management and Information Technologies, Special Issue on Critical Studies of Information Practice, 10 (4), pp. 257-290.

Watch: Chris Columbus, Bicenntinial Man, Columbia Pictures, 1999, 132 min.

Watch: Alex Proyas, I, Robot, 20th Century Fox, 2004, 115 min.

Isaac Asimov, "Introduction," "Robbie," and "Runaround," from I, Robot, New York: Fawcett Crest Books, 1950: pp. 1-30.

Isaac Asimov, Essays on Robots, from Robot Visions, New York: ROC Penguin Group, 1990: pp. 405-457.


Week 10: April 5
Military Robotics I: Technology & Applications


John Markoff, "War Machines: Recruiting Robots for Combat," November 27, 2010, New York Times.

Eric Hagerman, "Point. Click. Kill: Inside The Air Force's Frantic Unmanned Reinvention," August 18, 2009, Popular Science.

David Axe, "One in 50 Troops in Afghanistan Is a Robot," February 7, 2011, Wired.

Paul Sharre (2011) "Why Unmanned," Joint Force Quarterly, Issue 61, pp. 89-93.

Peter W. Singer (2009) "Coming Soon to a Battlefield Near You: The Next Wave of Warbots," in Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century, New York: Penguin Press, 2009, pp. 109-134.

Watch: "Drone Controllers Execute Hellfire Strike from Predator UAV," Redux, 2 min. (2009)

Watch: Omer Fast (2011)5,000 Feet is the Best, 30 min. [select from "Online Preview" menu]

Watch: Faultlines (2011)"Robot Wars," Al Jazeera English, 30 min.


Philip Alston (2011) "The CIA and Targeted Killings Beyond Borders,". New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers. Paper 303.

Text of the Attorney General’s National Security Speech, March 3, 2012.

Grégoire Chamayou (2011) "The Manhunt Doctrine," Radical Philosophy, Volume 169, Sep/Oct 2011.

Philip Alston (2010) "Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Study on targeted killings,"United Nations, May 28, 2010.

Niklas Schoernig and Alexander C. Lembecke, "The Vision of War without Casualties: On the use of casualty aversion in armament advertisements," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 50 No. 2, April 2006 204-227.

Watch: Frontline (2009)Taking out the Taliban: Home for Dinner, PBS, 5 min

Watch: Frontline (2011) Kill/Capture, PBS, 60 min.

Watch: DocZone, (2011) Remote Control War, CBC, 45 min. (only viewable in Canada)


Week 11: April 12
Military Robotics II: Ethics & Arms Control


Watch: Alex Rivera, Sleep Dealer, Likely Story, 2008, 90 min.

Shane Harris (2012) "Out of the Loop: The Human-free Future of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles," An Emerging Threats Essay, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Peter Asaro and Gerhard Dabringer (2010). " Military Robotics and Just War Theory," in Gerhard Dabringer (ed.) Ethica Themen: Ethical and Legal Aspects of Unmanned Systems, Interviews, Vienna, Austria: Austrian Ministry of Defence and Sports, pp. 103-119.

Peter Asaro (2008) "How Just Could a Robot War Be?" in Philip Brey, Adam Briggle and Katinka Waelbers (eds.), Current Issues in Computing And Philosophy, Amsterdam, Netherlands: IOS Publishers.

Armin Krishnan,"Dangerous Futures and Arms Control," in Killer Robots: Legality and Ethicality of Autonomous Weapons, London: Ashgate, 2009, pp. 145-167.

Richard Norton-Taylor and Rob Evans, "The Terminators: drone strikes prompt MoD to ponder ethics of killer robots," April 17, 2011, The Gaurdian.

Mark Anderson, "How Does a Terminator Know When to Not Terminate?", May 2010, Discover Magazine.

Ben Austen, "The Terminator Scenario: Are We Giving Our Military Machines Too Much Power?", January 13, 2011, Popular Science.

Owen Bowcott and Paul Lewis, "Attack of the drones," January 16, 2011, The Gaurdian.


International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) website.

Ron C. Arkin (2007). Governing Lethal Behavior: Embedding Ethics in a Hybrid Deliberative/Reactive Robot Architecture, Part I. Motivation & Philosophy,GVU Technical Report GIT-GVU-07-11, pp.1-8.

J. Borenstein (2008) "Ethics of Autonomous Military Robots," Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology, 2 (1), pp. 1-17.

Rob Sparrow (2007). "Killer Robots," Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 24, No. 1, 62-77.


Week 12: April 19
Telepresence & Robotic Art
Possible Guest Lecture


IEEE Spectrum Special Issue on Telepresence, September 2010.

Ken Goldberg, "Introduction: The Unique Phenomena of a Distance," The Robot in the Garden: Telerobots and the Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet," Cambridge: MIT Press, pp. 2-20.

Herbert Dreyfus, "Telepistemology: Descartes' Last Stand," The Robot in the Garden: Telerobots and the Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet," Cambridge: MIT Press, pp. 48-63.

Steve Dixon, "Metal Performance: Humanizing Robots, Returning to Nature, and Camping About," and "A Brief History of Robots and Automata," TDR: The Drama Review, Volume 48, Number 4 (T 184), Winter 2004, pp. 15-46.

Eduardo Kac, "Foundation and Development of Robotic Art," Art Journal, Vol. 56, No. 3, Digital Reflections: The Dialogue of Art and Technology, (Autumn, 1997), pp. 60-67.

Edward A. Shanken, "Tele-Agency: Telematics, Telerobotics, and the Art of Meaning,"Art Journal, Vol. 59, No. 2 (Summer, 2000), pp. 65-77.


Watch: Jonathan Mostow, Surrogates, Touchstone Pictures, 2009, 89 min.


Week 13: April 26
Robotic Vision


Paul Virilio, "Cinema isn't I See, it's I Fly," in War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception, London: Verso, 1989: 11-30.

Beth Herst, "Review: The Disembodied Eye," PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Vol. 24, No. 1, Intelligent Stages: Digital Art
and Performance (Jan., 2002), pp. 122-126.

Daniel Lovering, "Radioactive Robot: The Machines That Cleaned Up Three Mile Island," Scientific American, March 27, 2009

Erico Guizzo, "Japan Earthquake: Robots Help Search For Survivors," IEEE Spectrum, March 13, 2011.

Erico Guizzo, "BeetleCam Robotic Camera Meets the Lions of Masai Mara," IEEE Spectrum, March 8, 2012.


Watch: "BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster: Robot loses Saw - 2nd Robot brings it back. Wow!" YouTube, 9 min.

Watch: "BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster: Robot is handling a slip hook," YouTube, 5 min.

Watch: "BP cutting pipes on BOP - deep water horizon - oil spill live feed," YouTube, 11 min.

Watch: "Spidercam US Open 2010 Opening," YouTube, 1 min.

Watch: "Spidercam European swimming Championships Budapest," YouTube, 3 min.

Watch: "Spidercam Real Madrid Barcelona El Classico," YouTube, 5 min.

Watch: "How Does Skycam Work?" YouTube, 2 min.

Week 14: May 3
Domestic Drones, Surveillance & Privacy


Ryan Calo (2012) "Robots and Privacy," Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics, MIT Press, pp. 187-201.

Ryan Calo (2011) "The Drone as Privacy Catalyst," Stanford Law Review Online, 29, December 12, 2011, pp. 64.

American Civil Liberties Union (2011) Protecting Privacy From Aerial Surveillance: Recommendations for Government Use of Drone Aircraft, ACLU, December 2011.

Jennifer Lynch (2012) "Are Drones Watching You?" Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Brian Bennett (2011) "Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front," Los Angeles Times, December 10, 2011.

Alberto Sanfeliu, et al. (2010) "Infuence of the Privacy Issue in the Deployment and Design of Networking Robots in European Urban Areas," Advanced Robotics, 24 (2010) 1873–1899.

Mark Corcoran (2012) "Drone journalism takes off," ABC Australia News, February 21, 2012.

Spencer Ackerman (2011) "Occupy the Skies! Protesters Could Use Spy Drones," Wired Dangerroom, November 17, 2011.

Ryan Gallagher (2012) "Surveillance drone industry plans PR effort to counter negative image," The Guardian, February 2, 2012.


"Unblinking eyes in the sky," The Economist, March 3, 2012.

Watch: "Protester Films Polish Riots Using Drone 2011" YouTube, 3 min.

Meghan Keneally (2012) "Drone plane spots a river of blood flowing from the back of a Dallas meat packing plant," Daily Mail, January 24, 2012.

Watch: "Citizens Shoot Down Animal Rights Group's Surveillance Drone" The Blaze, 3 min.


Week 15: May 10
Final Papers Due