Gerardo Lebrón Laboy

Bio

My name is Gerardo, and I'm a Puerto Rico based lawyer focused in emerging topics that lie within the intersection of law, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

My intrigue of how technology shaped society was awakened by a  Philosophy of Technology course I took while in the University of Puerto Rico (Philosophy BA). Profoundly disturbed by one Prof. Huyke’s beliefs, that ‘…when you analyze the history of technology we have progressed either very little or nothing.’, I started learning how our culture, habits, and decisions are highly driven by the technologies we adopt through a kind of technological somnambulism (Langdon Winner)

Pursuing a law degree seemed like a logical option after completing my BAAfter spending a year in the UPR Law School understanding what law is, why rights exists, and were power is born (the people, Prof. José Julián Álvarez reminded us), on December 2016 I crossed ways with Dr. Ian Kerr,  who was then a Visiting Professor teaching a mini course named Robot Law. I enrolled unhesitatingly. 

Ian introduced me to an array of unconventional literature, which included Karel Capek’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), Ryan Calo’s Robots in American Law, Lawrence Lessig’s Code is Law, Bruno Latour’s Where Are the Missing Masses? The sociology of a few mundane artifacts, Peter Verbeek’s Materializing Morality: Design Ethics and Technological Mediation, Alan Turing’s Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Mireille Hildbrandt’s Profiling and the Rule of Law, Kate Crawford’s Can Algorithms be Agonistic?, Frank Pasquale’s A Rule of Persons, Not Machines: The Limits of Legal Automation, Anna Krugovoy Silver’s The Cyborg Mystique: ‘The Stepford Wives’ and Second Wave Feminism, Peter Asaro’s On banning autonomous weapon systems: human rights, automation, and the dehumanization of lethal decision-making, as well as his own marvelous works, such as Prediction, Preemption, Presumption: How Big Data Threatens Big Picture Privacy (with Jessica Earle), Chief Justice John Roberts is a Robot (with Carissima Mathen), Schrodinger’s Robot: Privacy in Uncertain States, and The Death of the AI Author (with Carys J. Craig). Add to the list a rigorous analysis of Sting’s We Work the Black Seam, Issac Isamov’s Runaround and Evidence, Ray Bradbury’s There Will Come Soft Rains, and a letter from Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) to his fans after their Super Bowl performance, were he played with an unplugged bass, intentionally

Throughout his course Ian made me realize two main points. First, that the discussion around robots and ai was distracted, paying undue attention to dystopian futures rather than to how to make sure that we as a society preserve and protect human rights throughout the adoption of new technologies. And second, that when we talk about robotics and ai we are forced to address the fundamental questions of human nature. 

When the course ended Ian asked me to join him at uOttawa to do research for him while pursuing a Law and Tech LLM concentrated in Robotics and AI. To which I answered ‘yes’, unhesitatingly.  

The LLM was to be completed under the mentorship of uOttawa’s Centre of Law, Technology, and Society, Canada’s premier research hub in technology law, ethics, and policy. Together with a Nigerian, a Turk, an Indian, a Filipino, and a Canadian, I had the opportunity to engage in a spectrum of techlaw related discussions and debates, all guided by the rigorousness of the Centre’s faculty members, such as Dr. Elizabeth Judge, Jane Bailey, Jason Millar, Amy Salyzyn, and Florian Martin-Bariteau. The level of excellence, one which I did not met, was remarkable. 

My LLM Research Paper discussed the human rights implications of the human-machine merger (cyborgism). 

While at uOttawa I met Dr. Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-Commerce Law, for whom I started producing his digital policy podcast Lawbytes, a podcast by Michael Geist. Geist gave me the amazing opportunity to travel to Israel to take his Global Digital Policy course in the University of Haifa. There I met Dr. Zarsky. 

Back in Puerto Rico, I’ve had the opportunity to offer Robot Law summer courses in the UPR Law School and in the Law School of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico (the latter only possible thanks to Michael Vergara, to whom I owe special gratitude). I’ve also been offering conferences and lectures of everything related to the legal, ethical, and societal implications of robotic and ai technologies. 

I created this website to continue to share legal and ethical perspectives relevant to the integration of robots and ai in our society, hoping to contribute to the development of sound (human-centered) policy.