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Dr.Asaro, P. (Peter)

The New School
Faculty: School of Media Studies

Visiting address

University of Twente Cubicus C324 Enschede

Mail address

Department of Philosophy University of Twente Postbus 217 7500 AE Enschede The Netherlands



Professor Peter Asaro is a philosopher of science, technology and media. His work examines artificial intelligence and robotics as a form of digital media, the ethical dimensions of algorithms and data, 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. As Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (www.icrac.net), he works on the human rights issues surrounding targeted killing by drones, and arms control issues for autonomous lethal robotics.

Prof. 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.

Prof. Asaro has held research positions at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University, Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University, the HUMlab of Umeå 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 recently completed a three-year project on Regulating Autonomous Artificial Agents: A Systematic Approach to Developing AI & Robot Policy, funded by the Future of Life Institute.


Degrees Held


Recent Publications

Asaro, P. (2019) “ AI Ethics in Predictive Policing: From Models of Threat to an Ethics of Care,” IEEE Technology & Society Magazine, Vol. 38, No. 2 (June 2019), pp. 40-53.

Asaro, P. (2019) “ Algorithms of Violence: Critical Social Perspectives on Autonomous Weapons,” Special Issue on Algorithms, Social ResearchVol. 86, No. 2 (Summer 2019), pp. 537-555.

Asaro, P. (2019) “ What is an ‘AI Arms Race’ Anyway?,” I/S: A Journal of Law for the Information SocietyVol. 15 No. 1-2 (Spring 2019), pp. 45-64.

Asaro, P. (2016) “‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!’ HRI and the Automation of Police Use of Force,” Special Issue on Robotics Law and Policy, Journal of Human-Robot Interaction, Vol. 5, No. 3 (2016): pp. 55-69.

Asaro, P. (2016). “Jus nascendi, Robotic Weapons and the Martens Clause,” in Ryan Calo, Michael Froomkin and Ian Kerr (eds.) Robot Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 367–386

Asaro, P. (2015) “Roberto Cordeschi on Cybernetics and Autonomous Weapons: Reflections and Responses,” Paradigmi: Rivista di critica filosofica, Anno XXXIII, no. 3, Settembre-Dicembre, 2015, pp. 83-107.

Altmann, J., P. Asaro, N. Sharkey, and R. Sparrow (2013). “ Armed Military Robots: Editorial,” Ethics and Information Technology (2), June 2013, pp. 73-76.

Asaro, P. (2013). “ The Labor of Surveillance and Bureaucratized Killing: New Subjectivities of Military Drone Operators,” Special Issue on Charting, Tracking, Mapping: Technology, Labor, and Surveillance, Gretchen Soderlund (ed.),Social Semiotics23 (2), pp. 196-224.

Asaro, P. (2012). “On Banning Autonomous Lethal Systems: Human Rights, Automation and the Dehumanizing of Lethal Decision-making,” Special Issue on New Technologies and Warfare, International Review of the Red Cross,94(886), Summer 2012, pp. 687-709.

Asaro, P. (2012). “ How Just Could a Robot War Be?” in Erica L. Gaston and Patti Tamara Lenard (eds.), Ethics of 21st Century Military Conflict, New York, NY: IDEBATE Press, pp. 257-269.

Asaro, P. (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.

Asaro, P. (2011). “ Computers as Models of the Mind: On Simulations, Brains and the Design of Early Computers,” in Stefano Franchi and Francesco Bianchini (eds.) The Search for a Theory of Cognition: Early Mechanisms and New Ideas. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Rodopi, pp. 89-114.

Asaro, P. (2011). “ Remote-Control Crimes: Roboethics and Legal Jurisdictions of Tele-Agency,” Special Issue on Roboethics, Gianmarco Veruggio, Mike Van der Loos, and Jorge Solis (eds.), IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine18(1), 68-71.

Asaro, P. (2009). “ Modeling the Moral User: Designing Ethical Interfaces for Tele-Operation,” IEEE Technology & Society28 (1), 20-24.

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