Bias-sensitizing robot behaviours

A quest for Avoiding Harmful Bias and Discrimination by robots (AGAINST-19)


Half-day workshop at the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2019)

Human behaviour is subject to a wide range of cognitive biases. The machines and robots we create will naturally inherit many of these biases, as recently brought to light in both the media and academia: through examples such as sexist ad targeting, racist policing, but also robotic ageism, sexism and racism. This workshop focuses on bias-sensitization of robot behaviour on issues such as gender, race, age and culture. Bias-sensitization — a concept brought forward by the field of gender studies — is the modification of behaviour to avoid discrimination and hidden and harmful bias. The goal of this workshop is thus to raise awareness of, and provide new insights into, the biases involved in robot design, human-robot interaction and datasets; as well as the techniques which will be required to avoid harmful bias and discrimination by robots. The workshop will provide a venue for Robotics and AI researchers, as well as philosophers, psychologists and cognitive scientists to exchange the lessons learned from state-of-art research in the intersection of diverse fields of studies.

Topics of interest

The topics that are relevant to this workshop include, but are not limited to:

  • age/race/gender-biased robots
  • feminist theory and robotics (e.g. gender studies in robotics, sex robots, feminist tech)
  • culturally competent versus stereotyped robots
  • learning from biased datasets in robotics
  • fairness and transparency in robotic systems
  • ethical robot decision making
  • legal issues in robot discrimination
  • ethical design and development of robotic systems

Abstract submission

We invite participants to submit extended abstracts (max 2 pages) related to the workshop's topics of interest. The accepted contributions will be posted on the workshop website but they will not appear in the official IEEE proceedings. Contributors may also request that their manuscripts not appear on the website. The reviewing will be made by the organizers and invited speakers of the workshop. The manuscripts should use the IEEE ICRA two-column format, and a PDF copy of the manuscript should be submitted through the dedicated EasyChair website.

Important Dates

Paper submission deadline: March 10, 2019
Author notification: April 19, 2019
Camera-ready submission: May 4, 2019
Workshop date: May 23 or 24, 2019

Invited Speakers (CONFIRMED)

  • Prof. Matthias Scheutz Tufts University, US
  • Prof. James E. Young University of Manitoba, Canada
  • Prof. Ayanna Howard, Georgia Institute of Technology, US
  • Prof. Alan Winfield University of West of England, UK
  • Dr. Barbara Bruno University of Genoa, Italy
  • Dr. John Danaher NUI Galway, Republic of Ireland

Tentative Schedule

8:45 - 9:00 Welcome (Organisers)
9:00 - 09:10 Poster Presentations (elevator pitch)
9:10 - 09:35 Invited talk: Prof. Ayanna Howard Race-biased robots (TBC)
9:35 - 10:00 Invited talk: Prof. James E. Young Gender-biased robots (TBC)
10:00 - 10:30 Coffee Break and poster session
10:30 - 10:50 Invited talk: Dr. Barbara Bruno Stereotypes in culture-aware robotics (TBC)
10:50 - 11:10 Invited talk: Dr. John Danaher Problems of discrimination in artificial intelligence (TBC)
11:10 - 11:35 Invited talk: Prof. Matthias Scheutz Norms and bias in cognitive modeling (TBC)
11:35 - 12:00 Invited talk: Prof. Alan Winfield Bias and transparency in autonomous systems (TBC)
12:00 - 12:30 Panel discussion and closing

Workshop Organizers

Masoumeh (Iran) Mansouri (Corresponding organizer)
Centre for Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems (AASS), Cognitive Robotics Lab, Örebro University, Sweden
Martim Brandao
Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI), University of Oxford, UK
Alessandro Saffiotti (Workshop advisor)
Centre for Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems (AASS), Cognitive Robotics Lab, Örebro University, Sweden

This workshop is supported by:

IEEE RAS TC on Robot Ethics