CFP: Socio-ethical Approaches to Robotics Development (IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, March 2018)


Converging approaches adopted by engineers, computer scientists and software developers have brought together niche skillsets in robotics for the purposes of a complete product, prototype or application. Some robotics developments have been met with criticism, especially those of an anthropomorphic nature or in a collaborative task with humans. Due to the emerging role of robotics in our society and economy, there is an increasing need to engage social scientists and more broadly humanities scholars in the field. In this manner we can furthermore ensure that robots are developed and implemented considering the socio-ethical implications that they raise.



This call for papers, supposes that more recently, projects have brought on board personnel with a multidisciplinary background to ask those all important questions about “what if” or “what might be” at a time that the initial idea generation is occurring to achieve a human-centered design. The ability to draw these approaches into the “design” process, means that areas of concern to the general public are addresses. These might include issues surrounding consumer privacy, citizen security, individual trust, acceptance, control, safety, fear of job loss and more.

In introducing participatory practices into the design process, preliminary results can be reached to inform the developers of the way in which they should consider a particular course of action. This is not to halt the freedom of the designer, but rather to consider the value-laden responsibility that designers have in creating things for the good of humankind, independent of their application.

This call seeks to include novel research results demonstrated on working systems that incorporate in a multidisciplinary approach technological solutions which respond to socio-ethical issues. Ideally this Robotics and Automation Magazine paper is complemented by a paper submitted in parallel to Technology and Society Magazine that investigates the application from a socio-ethical viewpoint. 

ARLINGTON, Va. (Nov. 9, 2010) Greg Trafton, center, a cognitive scientist with the Naval Research Laboratory, discusses Octavia, left, an MDS or mobile, dexterous, social robot, to exhibit hall attendees during day two of the Office of Naval Research 2010 Naval Science and Technology Partnership Conference. Octavia is part of the Office of Naval Research human robotics interaction research program which focuses on the abilities of teams of humans and autonomous systems to communicate clearly, collaborate to solve problems, and interact via means both locally and remotely. U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams - This Image was released by the United States Navy with the ID 101109-N-7676W-127. 

ARLINGTON, Va. (Nov. 9, 2010) Greg Trafton, center, a cognitive scientist with the Naval Research Laboratory, discusses Octavia, left, an MDS or mobile, dexterous, social robot, to exhibit hall attendees during day two of the Office of Naval Research 2010 Naval Science and Technology Partnership Conference. Octavia is part of the Office of Naval Research human robotics interaction research program which focuses on the abilities of teams of humans and autonomous systems to communicate clearly, collaborate to solve problems, and interact via means both locally and remotely. U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams - This Image was released by the United States Navy with the ID 101109-N-7676W-127. 


March 10 - Call for papers

August 1 - Submission deadline

October 1 - Author notification

November 15 - Revised paper submitted

November 25 - End of the second review round

November 30 - Final acceptance decision communicated to Authors

December 10 - Final manuscripts uploaded by authors

March 10, 2018 -  issue mailed to all members

* Information for authors can be found here.

CFP: Robotics and Social Implications (IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, March 2018)

Guest Editors

Ramona Pringle (Ryerson University), Diana Bowman (Arizona State University), Meg Leta Jones (Georgetown University), Katina Michael (University of Wollongong)


Robots have been used in a variety of applications, everything from healthcare to automation. Robots for repetitive actions exude accuracy and specificity. Robots don’t get tired, although they do require maintenance, they can be on 24x7, although stoppages in process flows can happen frequently due to a variety of external factors. It is a fallacy that robots don’t require human inputs and can literally run on their own without much human intervention. And yet, there is a fear surrounding the application of robots mostly swelled by sensational media reports and the science fiction genre. Anthropomorphic robots have also caused a great deal of concern for consumer advocate groups who take the singularity concept very seriously.

Stephanie Dinkins  and Bina48, Sentients (Video Still), 2015

Stephanie Dinkins and Bina48, Sentients (Video Still), 2015

It is the job of technologists to dispel myths about robotics, and to raise awareness and in so doing robot literacy, the reachable limits of artificial intelligence imbued into robots, and the positive benefits that can be gained by future developments in the field. This special will focus on the hopes of robot application in non-traditional areas and the plausible intended and unintended consequences of such a trajectory.

Getting Social: Robot Therapists Help Acclimate Children with Autism. Source:

Getting Social: Robot Therapists Help Acclimate Children with Autism. Source:

Engineers in sensor development, artificial consciousness, components assemblage, visual and aesthetic artistry are encouraged to engage with colleagues from across disciplines- philosophers, sociologists and anthropologists, humanities scholars, experts in English and creative writing, journalists and communications specialists- to engage in this call.

Multidisciplinary teams of researchers are requested to submit papers addressing pressing socio-ethical issues in order to provide inputs on how to build more robust robotics that will address citizen issues. For example:

  • How can self driving cars make more ethical decisions?
  • How can co-working with robots becoming an acceptable practice to humans?
  • How might their be more fluent interactions between humans and robots?
  • Can drones have privacy-by-design incorporated into their controls?

This issue calls for technical strategic-level and high-level design papers that have a social science feel to them, and are written for a general audience. The issue encourages researchers to ponder on the socio-ethical implications stemming from their developments, and how they might be discussed in the general public.



Broad Vertical Sectors

•    Driverless cars, buses, transportation
•    Military robots
•    Security robots
•    Assistive technologies
•    Robots as companions
•    Robots as co-workers
•    Ageing population
•    Children with syndromes
•    Learning technologies
•    Mentorship
•    Sex trade
•    Conversation


Multidisciplinary Angles:
•    Privacy-enhanced technologies, privacy by design, security, ethics
•    Legal entity, trust, control, moral agency, authority, autonomy, liberty, regulatory
•    Cultural, philosophical, anthropological, sociological, critical, phenomenological, normative
•    Real, virtual, conscious, artificial intelligence, anthropomorphic


Proposed Schedule

Paper Submission: April 30, 2017

Author Notification of Paper Acceptance: August 1, 2017

Final Revised Paper: November 1, 2017

Publication Date: March 1, 2018


How to Submit

Formatting guidelines for IEEE Technology and Society Magazine are available here. Select the Magazine menu  and go to "Information for Authors".

All papers are to be submitted to

During the submission process you will be asked to enter in your details if you are a new author to the Magazine. You will also be asked to enter the names and email address of three academics who might be able to review your article. These individuals must not be close contacts.

Papers cannot go over 5,000 words, including references. A variety of paper types are acceptable including: commentaries, opinion pieces, leading edge, industry views, book reviews, peer reviewed articles etc.

Guest Editor Biographies

Ramona Pringle

Ramona Pringle is an Assistant Professor in the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University and Director of the Transmedia Zone, an incubator for innovation in media and storytelling. As a writer, producer and digital journalist, Ramona’s work examines the evolving relationship between humans and technology. She is a technology columnist with CBC, and the writer and director of the interactive documentary “Avatar Secrets.” Previously, she was the interactive producer of PBS Frontline’s “Digital Nation” and editor in chief of “Rdigitalife”. Ramona is a co-editor of the IEEE Potentials Magazine special edition, “Unintended Consequences: the Paradox of Technological Potential” (2016) and an associate editor of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine. Ramona’s projects have been featured at festivals and conferences including i-docs, Power to the Pixel, TFI Interactive, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Hot Docs, SXSW, NXNE, Social Media Week, TEDx, and in publications including the New York Times, Mashable, Cult of Mac and the Huffington Post. Ramona has a Master’s Degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Diana Bowman

Diana M. Bowman is an Associate Professor in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law  and the  School  for  the  Future  of  Innovation  and  Society  at  Arizona State University,  and a visiting  scholar  in  the  Faculty  of  Law  at  KU  Leuven.  Diana’s research has primarily focused on the legal and policy issues associated with emerging technologies, and public health law. Diana has a BSc, a LLB and a PhD in Law from Monash University, Australia. In August 2011 she was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria (Australia).

Meg Leta Jones

Prof. Meg Leta (previously Ambrose) Jones is an Assistant Professor in the Communication, Culture & Technology program at Georgetown University where she researches rules and technological change with a focus on privacy, data protection, and automation in information and communication technologies. She is also an affiliate faculty member of the Science, Technology, and International Affairs program in Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, the Center for Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law Center, and the Brussels Privacy Hub at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Dr. Jones's research interests cover issues including comparative information and communication technology law, engineering and information ethics, critical information and data studies, robotics law and policy, and the legal history of technology. She engages with indisciplinary fields like cyberlaw, science and technology studies, and communication and information policy using comparative, interpretive, legal, and historical methods. Ctrl+Z: The Right to be Forgotten, her first book, is about the social, legal, and technical issues surrounding digital oblivion. Advised by Paul Ohm, Dr. Jones earned a Ph.D. in Technology, Media & Society from the University of Colorado, Engineering and Applied Science (ATLAS). Prior to pursuing a Ph.D., she earned a J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2008, where she focused on technology and information issues. She has held fellowships and research positions with the NSF funded eCSite project in the University of Colorado Department of Computer Science, the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado School of Law, the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and CableLabs. Since 2013, Dr. Jones has been teaching and researching in Washington, DC at Georgetown University.

Katina Michael

Katina Michael is a professor in the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong.  She is the IEEE Technology and Society Magazine editor-in-chief and also serves as the senior editor of the IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine. Since 2008 she has been a board member of the Australian Privacy Foundation, and also served as Vice-Chair. Michael researches on the socio-ethical implications of emerging technologies. She has also conducted research on the regulatory environment surrounding the tracking and monitoring of people using commercial global positioning systems (GPS) applications in the area of dementia, mental illness, parolees, and minors for which she was awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery grant.

The 9th Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security

Theme: The Socio-Ethical Implications of Implantable Technologies in the Military Sector

Convenors: Katina Michael, M.G. Michael, Jai C. Galliot, Rob Nicholls

Venue: Richard Newton Conference Room, Level 5, Building 193, The University of Melbourne

Date: 12 July 2016

Workshop co-located with IEEE Norbert Wiener Conference

Select papers to be published in a special section of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine in 2017

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Call for Abstracts

The military sector has been investing in nanotechnology solutions since their inception. Internal assessment committees in defense programmatically determine how much complex technology will be systematically diffused into the Armed Forces. The broad term nanotechnology is used to encompass a variety of innovations from special paint markers that can determine unique identity to RFID implants in humans. With the purported demand for these new materials, we have seen the development of a fabrication process that has catapulted a suite of advanced technologies in the military marketplace. These technologies were once the stuff of science fiction- everything from exoskeletons to wearable headsets with accelerated night vision, to armaments that have increased in durability in rugged conditions with the ability to be commanded centrally and without human intervention. But what of the emergence of the so-named supersoldier, a type of Iron Man? 

This workshop will focus on humancentric implantable technologies in the military sector. The key questions it will seek to discuss with respect to implants include: (1) What are the social implications of new proposed security technologies? (2) What are the rights of soldiers who are contracted to the defense forces? (3) Does local military law override the rights provided under the rule of law in a given jurisdiction, and thus, what are the possible legal implications? (4) How pervasive are these technologies in society at large? (5) And what might be some of the side effects experienced by personnel in using these devices that have not yet been tested under conditions of war and conflict? More broadly the workshop seeks to understand the socio-ethical implications (community), social contract (individual), and stakeholder (industry/government) perspectives.

This one day workshop invites multidisiplinary views from experts in the nanotechnology space.


Workshop Series Background

The Social Implications of National Security workshop series began in 2006 funded by the Australian Research Council, Research Network for a Secure Australia. The RNSA funded the workshop until 2012, and spear-headed the "Human Factor Series" for the lifetime of the research network. Its proceedings have been deposited in a variety of key stakeholders, including the National Library, the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, the Commisioner for Law Enforcement Data Security in Victoria and the NSW Police Academy libraries of Australia. The workshops have been hosted in Wollongong, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Toronto. There have been representatives from government, industry, defense, emergency services organisations, academia, and society at large at each of the workshops.


Program Schedule

  • 9.00 AM Registration
    • 9.15 AM Welcome and Introduction, Professor Katina Michael
    • 9.45 AM Keynote Speaker: Professor R.E. Burnett, National Defense University
  • 10.30 AM Morning Tea
    • 11.00 AM Professor Donna Dulo, Sofia University
    • 11.30 AM Dr Jai C. Galliot, Soldier Enhancement, University of New South Wales
    • 12.00 PM Associate Professor Diana Bowman, Nanotechnology Regulation for the Brain, Arizona State University
  • 12.30 PM Lunch
    • 1.30 PM Dr Rain Liivoja, Humanitarian Law, University of Melbourne
    • 2.00 PM Tim McFarland, University of Melbourne
    • 2.30 PM Panel (Includes Professor Marcus Wigan, Mr Lindsay Robertson and Mr Jordan Brown)
    • 3.30 PM Kayla HeffernanHCI, Design & Implants, University of Melbourne
  • 4.00 PM Afternoon Tea
  • 6.00 PM Dinner (walk to venue)


Invitations for Participation

Direct invitations for participation (over the Internet, or face-to-face in Melbourne) will shortly be sent out to the following researchers and practitioners:

Alan Rubel, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Alexander Hayes, University of Wollongong

Amal Graafstra,

Andrew Goldsmith, Flinders University

Ann Light, University of Sussex

Avner Levin, Ryerson University

Charlotte Epstein, University of Sydney

Christine Perakslis, Johnson and Wales University (*contacted: checking schedule)

Daniel Ratner, Engineer and technology entrepreneur (*contacted: awaiting reply)

Darren Palmer, Deakin University (*contacted: awaiting reply)

David Forbes, University of Melbourne (*contacted: awaiting reply)

David Vaile, UNSW

Diana Bowman, University of Michigan (* speaking)

Donna Dulo, Sofia University (*contacted: deliberating)

Eleni Kosta, Tilburg University

Ellen McGee, Ethics consultant (private practice) (*contacted: declined)

Emmeline Taylor, Australian National University

Eugene Kaspersky, Kaspersky Labs

Fritz Allhoff, Western Michigan University

Gary Retherford, Six Sigma Security

Gary T. Marx, MIT

Geoffrey Spinks, University of Wollongong

George Conti (*contacted: unavailable the week of 12th July)

Gordon Wallace, University of Wollongong

Herman Tavani, Rivier College

Ian Warren, Deakin University

Isabel Pederson, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Jackie Craig, Defence Science Technology Group

Jairus Grove, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Jennifer Seberry, University of Wollongong

Jeremy Pitt, Imperial College London

Jill Slay, UNSW Canberra

Kayla Heffernan, University of Melbourne (*speaking)

Katherine Albrecht, CASPIAN

Kaylene Manwaring, UNSW

Kevin Warwick, Coventry University

Keith Miller, University of Missouri - St. Louis

Kobi Leins (*contacted: in flight transit, submitting abstract)

Lisa Shay, West Point Military College (*contacted: declined as in special training)

Liz McIntyre, CASPIAN

Lyria Bennet Moses, UNSW

Lucy Resnyansky, DSTO

Lindsay Robertson, UOW (*speaking)

Luis Kun, National Defense University (*contacted: awaiting reply)

Marcus Wigan, Swinburne University (*speaking)

Mark Andrejevic, University of Queensland

Mark Burden, University of Queensland

Mark Gasson, University of Reading

Mark Ratner, Northwestern University

Max Michaud-Shields, Deputy Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment (*contacted: awaiting reply)

Mianna Lotz, Macquarie University

Michael Eldred,

Mirielle Hildebrandt, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Nick O'Brien, Charles Sturt University

Parag Khanna, New America Foundation

Patrick Lin, California Polytechnic State University (*contacted: declined, on holiday)

Peter W. Singer,  New America Foundation

Rain Liivoja, University of Melbourne (*speaking)

Ramona Pringle, Ryerson University

R.E. Burnett, National Defense University (*keynote)

Rafael Capurro, University of Tsukuba, Japan

Rebecca Hester, Virginia Tech University (*contacted: deliberating)

Roba Abbas, University of Wollongong

Roger Bradbury, Australian National University

Roger Clarke, Australian National University

Rob Sparrow, Monash University (*contacted: declined based on workload)

Sharon Bradley-Munn, University of Wollongong (* speaking)

Simon Bronitt, University of Queensland

Susan Dodds, University of Tasmania

Tamara Bonaci, University of Washington

Thomas James Oxley, University of Melbourne (*contacted: cannot make it due to training)

Tim McCormack, Harvard University (*contacted: declined as in flight transit)

William A. Herbert, Hunter College CUNY (*contacted: declined due to other projects)