[robotics-worldwide] [meetings] RSS 2015 Workshop on "The Big Questions in Robotics" - Call for Interesting Questions & Wise Suggestions

Andrea Censi censi at mit.edu
Mon Apr 20 11:45:47 PDT 2015

Dear colleagues,

We are organizing a workshop called "The Big Questions in Robotics"
during RSS 2015, next July in Rome, Italy.

These days, it's great to be a roboticist! We see considerable
scientific progress from one year to the next. The industry is blooming.
And, the robots are starting to work---who would have thought?

But with fast-paced progress comes also great uncertainty.

How will the field look like in 20 years? How can a student choose
a thesis topic that will not be obsolete in 5 years? What is that
can be done by industry, and what is that academia should do?
What is the "science" of robotics, as opposed to the "systems"?
How can we communicate our progress to the public, without creating
unreasonable expectations, and how can we communicate also the
challenges, without being labeled "Debbie Downers"?

These are just some of the possible "Big Questions" for the field.
This workshop is a unique opportunity to discuss them. Let's put
formulas aside for a moment, and focus on the big picture.

But, clearly, we cannot talk about everything in one afternoon.
Therefore, the meta-question is: What are the Big Question we
should talk about?

We organizers do have our own opinions about the most interesting
questions (and their answers!), but we thought best to act as
facilitators for the discussion and remove our own biases.

Therefore, we created a wiki:


In this wiki you can contribute what are the Big Questions
that you think are more interesting, and elaborate on your
tentative answers. (Please contribute even if you won't attend RSS.)
We will choose the questions to discuss from the wiki,
and we will summarize the wiki contributions at the beginning
of the workshop. Also feel free to send us your contributions
privately. Please specify if you want to remain anonymous or not.

We are still deciding about the best way to use the allocated time
for the workshop. We would like at least 50% to be a town hall
meeting. The rest of the time can be traditional talks.
We are open to suggestions about the format, and about the speakers
who can best talk about the future of the field.

After the workshop, we would like to collect the contributions
in a deliverable, which might be a report, or perhaps create
a (very) special issue. We are open to suggestions about this as well.

best regards,
your colleagues Andrea, Emilio, & John.

Andrea Censi | LIDS / MIT | http://censi.mit.edu

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