University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
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Spring 2021

Course Description
‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) includes a variety of technologies, notably ‘machine learning’ systems such as IBM’s Watson, which won a ‘Jeopardy’ match, Google’s Ultra Go, which trounced a Go Master, and a plethora of systems designed to predict tumors, shopping habits, and even criminality. ‘Robots’ increasingly feature varying degrees of autonomy, including systems like self-driving cars, military drones, and robo-surgeons. Behind many robots lies an embodied or even remotely connected AI, making the two new technologies intertwined.

Both technologies present a number of ethical, social, and legal challenges that are inciting a wide variety of responses. Representative examples of problems include: Should we permit robots to carry lethal weapons? Who is responsible for invidious discrimination by an AI? What should the liability (and ethical) rules be for accidents involving autonomous vehicles? Is existing malpractice law ready for AI doctors? Should AIs and/or Robots have ‘rights’, whether human rights, animal rights, or some sui generis set of rights? The course will thus treat AI/Robot Law as distinct subjects, or a distinct subject, of their own, and also attempt to put them into the context of the law’s ongoing encounter with new technology.

Most law courses seek to give you mastery of a relatively well-defined body of law. This course is different: it will seek to give you a taste of what it is like to work in areas with little or no clearly defined law (as such–the task then is to borrow or invent it), or new law, or where the law is in the process of being created and assembled – and where you could have a hand in making it, or interpreting it. Much like acrobatics without a net, this can be thrilling but it can also be scary. Crashes are always a possibility.

Course Schedule
Dates Day Time Room
01-25-2021 - 04-27-2021   MW  2:00 PM-3:15 PM DL

Course Frequency

Course Information

Credits: 3
Pass/Fail Option: No
Grading: Graded
Method of Evaluation: Grading will be based on class participation which depending on class size may involve a presentation or two, a short (five page) reaction paper during the term, and a circa 10-page final writing.
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Special Attributes: None
Course Delivery:
Online (all synchronous)
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s): None
Bar Subject(s): None
The Business of Innovation, Law and Technology: BILT (Concentration)   More information
Course Book(s):
Textbook Required:
First Class Assignment(s):
  • Assignment: All assignments will be via the class blog at . Access to this blog is privacy-protected--get access with user: robots and passwd: miami2021. Here is your first assignment: 1, Please read the class policies. 2. Before the first class, please email me at - Please use an email account where I can reach you if I need to. - Please use “RAI2021: [your name]” as the subject line of your email - In the body of the email, please tell me a little about yourself - Also, please tell me what you hope to get out of the class – this could affect the syllabus! 3. Before doing the reading, make a few notes that we can discuss in our first class about: - How you think most people would define a “robot” and an “artificial intelligence” - How you personally would define a “robot” and an “artificial intelligence” — if that’s any different from the above. 4. After you have done the above, please read Pages 1-13 & 17-25 of Neil Richards & William Smart, How Should the Law Think About Robots? (you may skip section 3). Links to the reading, and other important information, will be found at

    All materials will be online via class blog.

    TWEN/Blackboard/Course Webpage Link:

    Additional Information:
    In addition to logging into the class blog, you will need to set up your zoom access for classes. This will require email authentication, so please do it well before our first class. Instructions are on the class blog.



Contact Information:
Phone: (305)284-4285
Office: G382