[robotics-worldwide] [meetings] Call for participation: "Robotics and Military Applications: From Current Research and Deployments to Legal and Ethical Questions" at ICRA 2014

Ludovic Righetti ludovic.righetti at tuebingen.mpg.de
Wed May 7 03:04:01 PDT 2014

Dear fellow roboticists,

We are organizing a workshop on "Robotics and Military Applications:
>From Current Research and Deployments to Legal and Ethical Questions" at
ICRA 2014 (Sunday June 1st, 9am to 4pm) with prominent speakers from
academia and civil society. The full tentative program is available at

We would like to invite you to participate in this important debate in
two ways:

1) Come to the workshop, ask questions, participate in discussions;

2) Give your viewpoint in a brief presentation (10-15min). For this,
send us a summary of what you want to say.

Details are given below.

See you at ICRA!
Quang-Cuong Pham and Ludovic Righetti

*Call for contributions*

Robotics and Military Applications:
>From Current Research and Deployments to Legal and Ethical Questions


Workshop @ ICRA 2014
June 1st 2014, 9am to 4pm
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center

Military robots are no more restricted to science-fiction novels or to a
distant future but have become a concrete reality. Autonomous aerial
robots -- or drones -- are for instance currently deployed, mainly by
the US Army, in several countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen,
or Somalia. According to independent investigations, such robots have
caused several thousands of casualties, including a non-negligible
number of civilians. As a result, increased autonomy in weapon systems
is focusing a large attention from civil society, prompting field
researches on the consequences of the use of drones, as well as legal
and ethical debates about the increasing use of robotics technology in
the military.

At the same time, within the academic robotics research community, there
are a considerable number of programs that are motivated by military
applications and/or funded by military agencies. Many of the advances
obtained in such programs have been or will be used in building
operational military robots. It is thus evident that robotics
researchers, who stand at the very beginning of the chain that
eventually leads to operational military robots, must take an important
part in the societal debate mentioned above.

The goal of this workshop is to stimulate the debate on military
applications within the robotics community. To this end, prominent
speakers from academia, NGOs, and governmental agencies will present
facts and data about the current research and deployments of military
robots (technologies, motivations, casualties, economic and
psychological consequences on the concerned populations,...), as well as
elements of legal and ethical reflections about military robots.

In contrast with existing efforts on "Roboethics", the focus here is
exclusively on military robots and the burning issues raised by their
ongoing deployments. We hope that this workshop will help stimulating
the reflections of robotics researchers as individuals but also as a
community about the issue of military robots, so that they can also
contribute in return to this important societal debate.

*Invited Speakers*
- Noel Sharkey (University of Sheffield and International Committee for
Robot Arms Control)
- George Bekey (University of Southern California, California
Polytechnic State University)
- Paul Scharre (Center for a New American Security)
- Stefan Sonnenberg (International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
Clinic, Stanford Law School)

*Call for contributions*
You are invited to contribute to the debate by submitting an abstract
(one page) to ludovic.righetti -at- tuebingen.mpg.de
Authors of selected abstracts will be invited to give a presentation (10
to 15min) during the workshop.

Quang-Cuong Pham (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Ludovic Righetti (Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany)

This workshop is co-organized by the Max-Planck Institute for
Intelligent Systems

  Ludovic Righetti, Dr. Sc.

  Autonomous Motion Department,
  Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany
  CLMC Lab, University of Southern California, USA

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