Dr. Peter Asaro is a philosopher of science, technology and media. His work examines artificial intelligence and robotics as a form of digital media, and the ways in which technology mediates social relations and shapes our experience of the world.
His current research focuses on the social, cultural, political, legal and ethical dimensions of military robotics and UAV drones, from a perspective that combines media theory with science and technology studies. He has written widely-cited papers on lethal robotics from the perspective of just war theory and human rights. Dr. Asaro's research also examines agency and autonomy, liability and punishment, and privacy and surveillance as it applies to consumer robots, industrial automation, smart buildings, and autonomous vehicles. His research has been published in international peer reviewed journals and edited volumes, and he is currently writing a book that interrogates the intersections between advanced robotics, and social and ethical issues.
Dr. Asaro has held research positions at the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University, the HUMlab of Umeň University in Sweden, and the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. He has also developed technologies in the areas of virtual reality, data visualization and sonification, human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robot vision, and neuromorphic robotics at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA), the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and Iguana Robotics, Inc., and was involved in the design of the natural language interface for the Wolfram|Alpha computational knowledge engine for Wolfram Research--this interface is also used by Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Bing to answer math queries, and won two 2010 SXSW Web Interactive Awards for Technical Achievement and Best of Show.
He is completing an Oral History of Robotics project that is funded by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities. He has also just initiated a new three-year project on Regulating Autonomous Artificial Agents: A Systematic Approach to Developing AI & Robot Policy, funded by the Future of Life Institute.
Dr. Asaro received his PhD in the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also earned a Master of Arts from the Department of Philosophy, and a Master of Computer Science from the Department of Computer Science.
Recent Media Appearences and Lectures:
My address to the United Nations in Geneva, at the 2014 Experts Meeting on Autonomous Weapons. (audio)
Asaro, P. (2016). “Dr. Peter Asaro on Drone Technology in Eye in the Sky,” Sloan Science and Film, April 19, 2016.
Asaro, P. (2015). “Ban Killer Robots before They Become Weapons of Mass Destruction,” Scientific American, August 7, 2015.
Interview by David E. Levine, “Show #236 Prof. Peter Asaro on Killer Robots,” Hearsay Culture, May 29, 2015.
Interview by Kasia Broussalian, “Killer Robots: Warfare's Friend or Foe?,” The New School Research Radio, September 2013.
Interview by AJung Moon, “Robots Podcast: Autonomous Lethal Weapons,” RoboHub, May 2013.
Interview by Johnny Hartz S°raker, “Episode 5: Peter Asaro,” SuchThatCast, October 2012.
Interview by Noel Sharkey (2009). “A Love Machine?” Sound of Science program for Sheffield Live! Radio, aired January 30, 2009.
Interview by Noel Sharkey (2008). “Armed Military Robots,” Sound of Science program for Sheffield Live! Radio, aired June 20, 2008.
(2001) Love Machine
(2016) "The Liability Problem for Autonomous Artificial Agents"
(2015) "Regulating Robots: A Multi-Scale Approach to Developing Robot Policy and Technology"
(2014) "Robots, Micro-Airspaces, and the Future of ‘Public Space’"
(2013) "The Labor of Surveillance and Bureaucratized Killing: New Subjectivities of Military Drone Operators"
(2012) "On Banning Autonomous Lethal Systems: Human Rights, Automation and the Dehumanizing of Lethal Decision-making"
(2011) "A Body to Kick, but Still No Soul to Damn: Legal Perspectives on Robotics"
(2011) "Remote-Control Crimes: Roboethics and Legal Jurisdictions of Tele-Agency"
(2009) "Military Robotics and Just War Theory"
(2009) "Modeling the Moral User: Designing Ethical Interfaces for Tele-Operation"
(2009) "Special Issue on the Intellectual Legacy of W. Ross Ashby, Int. Journal of General Systems"
(2008) "How Just Could a Robot War Be?"
(2008) "Pornomechanics: Sex Robots and the Mechanisms of Love"
(2008) "From Mechanisms of Adaptation to Intelligence Amplifiers: The Philosophy of W. Ross Ashby"
(2007) "Heinz von Foerster and the Bio-Computing Movements of the 1960s"
(2007) "Robots and Responsibility from a Legal Perspective"
(2006) "What Should We Want from a Robot Ethic?"
(2006) "Working Models and the Synthetic Method: Electronic Brains as Mediators Between Neurons and Behavior"
(2005) "A.I.and Emotional Robots: Collaborative Fiction in Science and Film"
(2000) "Transforming Society by Transforming Technology: The Science and Politics of Participatory Design"
Work with my Students:
asaro AT alumni.illinois.edu