The Recorder [subscription] reports on Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar’s participation earlier this week in a panel discussion about artificial intelligence and the law at the annual Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, in San Francisco.  “Cuéllar was critical of a book by philosopher Nick Bostrom about the existential threat to humanity posed by self-aware machines.  But the justice also laid out what he said were the promises and risks presented by AI, in the realm of law and beyond.”

In somewhat related news, Justice Cuéllar was scheduled to appear yesterday at Comic-Con in San Diego at a program called “Judges on Star Wars.”  Sharing the panel with, among others, Ninth Circuit Judge John Owens, Cuéllar was supposed to help analyze these weighty legal issues:  “Is the dark side an addiction or a choice for Kylo Ren?  What are the civil rights of droids?  Did interrogating Bodhi Rook with the Bor Gullet violate Rook’s civil rights?”  This is not Cuéllar’s first appearance at Comic-Con.  Last year, he was there to talk about Star Trek.  That yielded a memorable photo.

[July 25 update:  In a letter published yesterday in The Recorder [subscription], Justice Cuéllar writes to “clarify [his] views on the potential risks posed by ‘superintelligence’ discussed in philosopher Nicholas Bostrom’s influential book.”]