[robotics-worldwide] [meetings] Call for Position Papers - Debates on the Future of Robotics Research - Full-Day Workshop at ICRA 2019

Jonathan Kelly jonathan.kelly at robotics.utias.utoronto.ca
Tue Feb 26 18:52:39 PST 2019

Call For Position Papers

Debates on the Future of Robotics Research
Full-Day Workshop at ICRA 2019 in Montreal


Is robotics a science? How should autonomous vehicles be regulated? Will raw computing or human ingenuity do more to drive the field forward? The future of robotics research and practice is up for debate!

Debates on the Future of Robotics Research is a full-day workshop at ICRA 2019. It will feature a series of exciting lightning talks and moderated discussions where researchers will present their points of view in formal debates about important questions regarding the past, present and future of robotics.

The workshop will cover a variety of topics ranging from technical discussions to questions about robotics as a profession and academic discipline, as well as broader issues surrounding the ethical, legal and social impacts of robotics. While these discussions have been taking place at the margins of major events like ICRA, our hope is that by bringing them to the forefront we can foster constructive dialogue across multiple areas of research and practice, and drive the field forward.


As part of the workshop, there will be a series of Lightning Talks consisting of 3-5 minute presentations about relevant topics that are not addressed by the formal debates. We are seeking 1-2 page position papers to be presented during the Lightning Talks session, which make an affirmative or negative argument about a salient issue or trend in robotics research.

All submissions may be made via the online form at: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.roboticsdebates.org_submit.html&d=DwIFAg&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=0w3solp5fswiyWF2RL6rSs8MCeFamFEPafDTOhgTfYI&m=LYA68ov5zFKSw7DVhbyUxucK0i4tr7oOm1XQmE7v958&s=9FqN6gN4i1U-sYjyC86yVgFiLu11oGVkonuGMsHogIU&e=

While we welcome submissions from all members of the robotics community, we especially encourage graduate students and early-career researchers to take advantage of this opportunity to share their points of view.


Position paper submission deadline:	April 19, 2019
Notification of acceptance:		April 26, 2019


Some examples of potential topics include: 


-  "Robotics is not a science."
-  "Raw computing will soon be more useful than human ingenuity for robotics research."
-  "The pervasiveness of deep learning techniques in robotics research is an impediment to gaining meaningful insights into robotics problems."

Academic and Professional:

- "Academics should not be permitted to hold simultaneous appointments in academia and industry while being supported by public funds."
- "The established norm of rapid publication in robotics is a disincentive to pursuing ambitious long-term research topics."
- "ICRA, IROS and other major robotics conferences cover too broad a range of topics for meaningful discourse."

Ethical, Legal and Social Impact:

- "The concentration of large datasets and expensive equipment in the hands of relatively few corporations is a barrier to the application of robotics for social good."
- "Roboticists have a direct responsibility for the economic changes brought about by automation, including unemployment due to displacement by technology."
- "Autonomous vehicles need a similar level of regulation and certification as in other engineering disciplines (e.g., aviation), even if this results in slower technological innovation."

This list is not exhaustive and we welcome submissions on topics other than those listed above. Papers may be drawn from previously published or otherwise existing work. Please contact the organizers if you have questions about whether your idea is appropriate for the workshop. All submissions will be reviewed by the organizing committee.


The workshop will include three moderated debate sessions, with pairs of invited speakers offering opening statements, rebuttals and concluding arguments as they debate a proposition. We have an outstanding list of confirmed speakers and moderators, including:

- Aude Billard (EPFL)
- Joydeep Biswas (U. Mass. Amherst)
- Oliver Brock (TU Berlin)
- Peter Corke (QUT)
- Jonathan How (MIT)
- Chad Jenkins (U. Michigan)
- Hadas Kress-Gazit (Cornell)
- John Leonard (MIT)
- James Mickens (Harvard)
- Michael Milford (QUT)
- AJung Moon (Open Roboethics and United Nations)
- Nick Roy (MIT)
- Hallie Siegel (formerly of Robohub) 

We look forward to seeing you at the workshop and to a day of Insightful discussions!

Your organizers at the University of Toronto,

Valentin Peretroukhin
Lee Clement
Matthew Giamou
Prof. Jonathan Kelly

More information about the robotics-worldwide mailing list