University of Ottawa doctoral student Kristen Thomasen will soon be joining the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Law as an Assistant Professor in Law, Robotics and Society. This position is the first of its kind in North America, responding to the growing impact of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence on the law. The creation of this position marks a significant recognition of the emerging field of law and robotics, pioneered in Canada and on the global stage by Prof. Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology.
Kristen, who had a background in anthropology and international relations before earning her J.D. at the University of Ottawa, is currently completing the second year of her Ph.D. under Professor Kerr’s supervision. Her research focuses on developing a Canadian law and policy framework to address privacy issues raised by domestic drones. As part of her research, Kristen will spend this summer at the University of Tilburg Institute of Law and Technology researching European approaches to the regulation of robotics and privacy. This posting is sponsored by the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, part of Kristen’s SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship.
Before starting her Ph.D., Kristen clerked for the Honourable Justice Rosalie Abella at the Supreme Court of Canada and at the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, and articled with Alberta Justice. Kristen has previously written about the use of automated technologies in law enforcement and about law and policy options for drone privacy regulation, and has participated in North America’s leading robotics law and policy conference, We Robot. Kristen also co-taught Contract Law this year with Prof. Kerr.
“I am so grateful for the stellar academic experience I’ve received from the University of Ottawa. The cutting-edge, future-oriented courses and research I had the chance to be involved in during my J.D. really prepared me for my doctoral project. Now add to that Professor Kerr’s amazing mentorship throughout my Ph.D. in teaching, designing a research agenda, writing grant applications, and so much more. I am excited to take my work to the next level,” said Kristen. “I cannot wait to apply my uOttawa training at Windsor Law starting next year.”
“Kristen has been a poster person for our PhD program,” said Prof. Kerr. “She is brilliant, she can find anything under the sun and she is already one of Canada’s thought leaders on drones—helping our country navigate its way through thorny national and local law and policy problems that drone technologies are creating. Best of all she is a pleasant, wonderful human being; someone that our students love to learn from. Windsor Law has scored—big-time!”