Is Tricking a Robot Hacking?

  • Starts: 3:30 pm on Wednesday, December 2, 2020
  • Ends: 5:00 pm on Wednesday, December 2, 2020
The term “hacking” has come to signify breaking into a computer system. A number of local, national, and international laws—among them, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act—seek to hold hackers accountable for breaking into computer systems to steal information or disrupt their operation. Other laws and standards incentivize private firms to use best practices in securing computers against attack. A new set of techniques, aimed not at breaking into computers but at manipulating the increasingly intelligent machine learning models that control them, may force law and legal institutions to reevaluate the very nature of hacking.

This Cyber Alliance talk, featuring University of Washington Law Prof. Ryan Calo, will draw upon interdisciplinary research at the University of Washington Tech Policy Lab to show how the unfolding renaissance in artificial intelligence, coupled with an almost parallel discovery of its vulnerabilities, requires a reexamination of what it means to “hack” a computer system. Unless frameworks adjust, the consequences of misalignment between law and practice include inadequate coverage of crime, missing or skewed security incentives, and the prospect of chilling critical security research.

There will be time for casual conversation before and after the presentation. Please email Mayank Varia at to request Zoom invite details.