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Recording of #WeRobot 2021 Sessions Now Available

If you missed any part of We Robot 2021, or you just want to enjoy it again, you’ll be pleased to know we’ve got recordings of the sessions available on line. If you want to read the paper before hearing the discussion (highly recommended!) see our program page for links to everything.

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We Robot 2021 Prizes

Congratulations to our Prize winners:

Prize Committee

Meredeth K. Broussard
Ryan Calo (recused on the Poster award)
Kate Darling (Chair)

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We Robot 2021 Will Be Virtual After All

We had hoped very much to have a live event, but circumstances make it clear that it’s not to be. We’d looked forward to welcoming you back to Coral Gables, but we’ve decided that due to safety concerns we have to take We Robot to a fully virtual format again.

Starting with its first edition here in Miami, We Robot has sought — we think successfully — to create and encourage interdisciplinary conversations about robotics (and AI) law and policy. We now have a decade’s worth of success at evolving a common vocabulary and a body of work which includes bedrock scholarship for the rapidly expanding fields represented at the conference. We have fostered, and continue to foster connections between a diverse, international, and interdisciplinary group of scholars, ranging from graduate students to senior professors to persons in government and industry. And — not least — we’ve had a lot of fun doing it.

We’re currently exploring various conference tools that we hope will make it easy not only to have an engaging event with significant audience participation, but also will facilitate the side conversations that are part of what makes We Robot the exciting event it has always been. Watch our homepage for the latest news.

We will soon be posting drafts of the papers that will be presented at We Robot. We may be going virtual, but we’re not changing the format: you will have a chance to read the papers before the conference, and indeed we hope that you will do so and come armed with your thoughts and questions. Other than on panels, authors will not present their own papers – instead our discussant will give a quick summary and critique, and then we’ll open it up to questions from the audience. For the panels, the authors speak briefly, then we go to Q&A. Links to the papers will appear on the program page of the website and in a series of blog posts on the front page of the site.

The good news that by going virtual we are no longer capacity constrained. We’re also reducing the price structure of the event. Registration for the workshop day will be only $25; registration for the two-day main conference will be $49 for everyone except for all students, and for UMiami faculty, for whom it will be $25 including the workshop. We do have some fee waivers available if these fees are a hardship for you. If you have already registered you will be notified directly about processing any refunds that may be due.

Although we will not be able to see you in person, we look forward very much to your virtual participation in We Robot 2021. The heart of We Robot has always been in participation by its attendees, and we will do all we can to preserve that.

See you soon–virtually.

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We Robot Registration Update

[Updated] The registration portal is now open again.

We are on track for a fully in-person conference!

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We Robot 2021 Posters Deadline Extended to July 15

In light of the uncertainty as to our presentation mode–which we hope to resolve by early July–we’ve extended the time that  the submission portal for We Robot 2021 remains open for poster proposals to July 15, 2021. We’ve closed the portal for papers and demos.

That said, if you have a particularly cool robot you want to demo, get in touch and we may be able to work something out.

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We Robot 2021 Will Have Terrific Papers & Demos

We Robot 2021 is proud to announce the list of accepted papers for our September 24 & 25 meeting days (the 23rd will be our Workshop day – details soon). These papers survived a rigorous double-blind review process, and represent less than 15% of the submissions we received. Sadly, many very good papers got turned away. Happily, we can look forward to these:

Debunking Robot Rights: Metaphysically, Ethically and Legally
Abeba Birhane, Jelle van Dijk, and Frank Pasquale

Discrimination as a Cybernetic System Accident
Marc Canellas

Social Robots and Children’s Fundamental Rights: A Dynamic Four-Component Framework for Research, Development, and Policy
Vicky Charisi, Urs Gasser, Randy Gomez, and Selma Šabanović

Autonomous Vehicles as Public Infrastructure: Building an “AV Development Index” for Tomorrow’s Cities
Roel Dobbe and Thomas Gilbert

Bias in Contract Prediction: A Case Study of GPT-3
Noam Kolt

The Legal Construction of Black Boxes: How Machine Learning Practice Informs Foreseeability
I. Elizabeth Kumar, Andrew Selbst, and Suresh Venkatasubramanian

Driving Into the Loop: Mapping Automation Bias & Liability Issues for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
Jason Millar, Ajung Moon, Shalaleh Rismani, and Katie Szilagyi

Being “Seen” vs. “Unseen”: Tensions Between Privacy and Fairness in Algorithmic Bias Mitigation
Alice Xiang

Field Robotics Panel

  • Robots in the Ocean, Annie Brett
  • Smart Farming versus Traditional Knowledge: Mapping the Impacts of AI Automation on East African Smallholder Female Farmers, Jeremy de Beer, Laura Foster, Chidi Oguamanam, Katie Szilagyi, and Angeline Wairegi
  • On the Practicalities of Robots in Public Spaces, Cindy Grimm, Bill Smart, and Kristen Thomasen

Health Panel

  • Somebody That I Used to Know: The Risks of Personalizing Robots for Dementia Care, Sharon Banh, Soyon Kim, Alyssa Kubota, Maryam Pourebadi, and Laurel D. Riek
  • Diverse Patient Perspectives on the Role of AI and Big Data in Healthcare, Kelly Bergstrand, Jess Findley, Christopher Robertson, Marv Slepian, and Andrew Woods
  • Prescribing Discrimination, Krista Kennedy and Charlotte Tschider


Societal Implications of Large Language Models
Miles Brundage

Skills from Students – Artifacts from a Robot Interaction Design Curriculum for Fifth Grade Students
Daniella Ditaola


Please note that we are accepting proposals for posters on a rolling basis until June 1.

We anticipate announcing the form of the conference — in person, virtual, or blended — in early July, so watch this space.  We will also announce a tentative program schedule once we sort out a few logistics…


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We Robot 2021 Submission Portal Now Open

We’ve opened the submission portal for We Robot 2021. There are three submission tracks: papers, posters, and demos/art installations. Although the submission tracks are separate, the conference will proceed on one track, so the three types of presentations will be mixed in together.

You will need an EasyChair account to submit a proposal; if you don’t have one, don’t worry, they’re free and easy to create.

For people planning to submit a paper proposal, we’ve also created a short guide to ‘What Makes a Great We Robot Proposal?‘ and included some sample abstracts that impressed past reviewers.

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We Robot 2021 Call for Papers, Demos & Posters

Please note: The deadline for submitting paper abstracts has been extended to Feb 8, 2021.


We invite submissions for the 10th annual robotics law and policy conference—We Robot 2021—to be held at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, USA, on September 23-25, 2021. Currently we are planning for an in-person event with a virtual option, but this may change subject to circumstances. Previously, the conference has been held at University of Miami, University of Washington, Stanford, Yale, and University of Ottawa. The conference web site is at The submission portal for poster proposals, papers, and demos opened on Dec. 14, 2020. Paper and demo proposals are due by Feb. 1, 2021. Posters will be accepted on a rolling basis until June 1, 2021.

Marking the 10th anniversary of the conference, We Robot 2021 seeks contributions by North American and international academics, practitioners, and others, in the form of scholarly papers, technological demonstrations, or posters. We Robot fosters conversations between the people designing, building, and deploying robots and the people who design or influence the legal and social structures in which robots will operate. We particularly encourage papers with co-authors from different fields, e.g. interdisciplinary collaborations between developers of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and related technology and experts in the humanities, social science, and law and policy.

This conference will build on a growing body of scholarship exploring how the increasing sophistication and autonomous decision-making capabilities of robots and their widespread deployment everywhere from the home, to hospitals, to public spaces, to the battlefield, disrupts existing legal regimes or requires rethinking policy issues.

We invite proposals for each of the following:

  • Scholarly papers
  • Demonstrations
  • Poster sessions

Scholarly Papers

Topics of interest for the scholarly paper portion of the conference include, but are not limited to:

  • Comparative international perspectives on the regulation of robotic technologies.
  • Assessment of what institutional configurations, if any, would best serve to integrate robotics into society responsibly.
  • The impact of artificial intelligence on civil liberties, including sexuality, due process, equal protection, privacy, suffrage, and procreation.
  • Deployment of autonomous weapons in the military or law enforcement contexts.
  • Law and economic perspectives on robotics.
  • Feminist or critical race theory perspectives on robotics.
  • Regulatory and licensing issues raised by robots.
  • Robots in specific sectors, ranging from agriculture to underwater to the professions (law, medicine, accounting).
  • Issues of legal or moral responsibility, e.g. relating to autonomous robots or robots capable of exhibiting emergent behavior.
  • Effects of robotic adoption on the demand for human labor.
  • Privacy and intellectual property issues relating to robotics.
  • Ethical issues arising from automation.
  • Co-robotics in practice, be it assembly lines, small businesses, hospitals, or other contexts where robots and humans work side-by-side.

Please note that this list is not meant to be exclusive or exhaustive. Instead, it suggests potential avenues for inquiry. We encourage other contributions that engage how law and policy should react to the development of robots – defined broadly to include AI and cyberphysical systems. The purpose of this conference is to continue to frame (and report on) research agendas relating to the deployment of robots in society, to inform policy-makers of the issues, and to help design legal rules that will maximize opportunities and minimize risks arising from the increased deployment of robots in society.

How to Propose a Paper

The conference submission portal opened Dec. 14, 2020. Submissions are due by Feb. 1, 2021. Proposers will need to provide:

  1. Title of the proposed paper and an abstract of between 500 and 1000 words. Submitters are cautioned that proposals that exceed the length limit will be rejected unread. We posted some general tips and some model abstracts to serve as suggestive examples. In addition (not counted in the word limit) please provide a list of up to 6 key references that you refer to in the paper that will help us understand how to situate your paper;
  2. Please do NOT put any names or biographical information in your uploaded proposal. However, on a separate sheet, please – again without your name(s) or the name(s) of institutions or corporations – list the current title of each contributor (e.g. “Ph. D candidate in Mechanical Engineering” or “Associate Professor of Anthropology” or “Chief Technologist at Robotics Startup”). We are asking for this information because in past years we have sometimes struggled to determine whether proposers had the experience or disciplinary breadth to deliver on certain types of ambitious proposals; purely blind submissions did not, for example, allow us to tell if submissions were by one person or a group.

To preserve blind review, we ask that you not ask members of the program committee to review draft abstracts in advance of submission.

Important Note

Full text of accepted papers will be due on Aug. 16, 2021. This is a hard deadline because at We Robot authors do not present their papers (except for occasional panel or lightning-round-format presentations). Instead, the paper will be briefly summarized by a discussant, and we make all papers available one month before the conference so that the discussant — and all attendees – can read them. We also invite expressions of interest from potential discussants. Every paper accepted will be assigned a discussant who will present and comment on the paper. These presentations will be very brief (no more than 10 minutes) and will consist mostly of making a few points critiquing the author’s paper to kick off the conversation. Authors will then respond briefly (no more than 5 minutes). The rest of the session will consist of a group discussion with the discussant acting as a moderator.

We will waive conference fees for all authors of accepted papers if the full paper is submitted by Aug. 16, 2021. In addition, subject to funding availability, we intend to provide for domestic air travel (or, if necessary, at least partial funding for international air travel), plus lodging, for one paper presenter provided the full paper is submitted by the due date.


We invite proposals for demonstrations of interesting new robots and related technology. Unlike scholarly papers, proposals for demonstrations may be purely descriptive and designer/builders will be asked to present their work themselves. We’d like to hear about your latest innovations, what’s on the drawing board for the next generations of robots, or about legal and policy issues you have encountered in the design or deploy process. Please bring your robots if you can!

How to pitch a demo. The conference submission portal opened Dec. 14, 2020. Submissions are due by Feb. 1, 2021. Please send a description of what you have, or are doing, with links to any relevant photos or audio-visual information, as well as your C.V. Please be sure to choose the “Demo ” track for your upload. Please include a brief description of what facilities and resources your demonstration might require (e.g., power, internet connection, space).

Poster Session

We Robot’s poster session is designed to accommodate late-breaking and cutting edge projects. This session is ideal for researchers to get feedback on a work in progress. At least one of the authors of each accepted poster should plan to be present at the poster during the entire poster session on the afternoon of Sept. 24, 2021, and for a “lightning round” of one-minute presentations during the main session. You can bring the poster or, in some cases, with sufficient lead time we may be able to print it in Miami for you. If accepted, you will also need to provide a web-friendly summary of the work that we can post on the conference web site.

How to propose a poster session. Please send an up to 500 word description of what you have or are doing, with links to any relevant photos or audio visual information, as well as your C.V. via the conference submission portal. Please be sure to choose the “Posters ” track for your upload. Submissions open Dec. 14, 2020 and are due by June 1, 2021. We’ll accept poster proposals on a rolling basis, meaning that there will be an advantage to submitting before this date. Remember, at least one author of an accepted poster must register at the conference to submit the final version.

We will waive all conference fees for one author of every accepted poster.

Summary of Key Dates

  • December 14, 2020. Submission portal for papers, demos, and posters opens.
  • January 8, 2021. Early Bird Registration begins.
  • February 1, 2021. Call for papers and demos closes. All proposals submitted by this date will be treated equally.
  • March 8, 2021. We aim to have responses to paper and demo proposals by this date.
  • June 1, 2021. Early bird registration closes.
  • June 1, 2021. Call for posters closes, but acceptances may be offered on a rolling basis (i.e. it may be beneficial to submit earlier).
  • August 16, 2021. Full papers due. They will be posted online at the conference web site unless otherwise agreed.
  • September 23, 2021. We Robot Workshops, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA.
  • September 24-25, 2021. We Robot Conference, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA. (Note – poster session on Sept 24, 2021.)

More information and updates at:

We anticipate waiving conference fees, paying reasonable round-trip coach airfare, and providing two nights hotel accommodation for one presenter per paper and for all discussants. We will waive all conference fees for all other authors and for poster presenters; we are currently exploring scholarship opportunities to help students cover costs of attendance.

(You can download a pdf version of the We Robot 2021 – Call For Papers, Demonstrations & Posters.)

PLEASE NOTE: All paper submissions are reviewed blind by the program committee and the review committee. To maximize your chances of acceptance, please do not discuss the substance of your proposal with any organizers.

© 2020 We Robot 2021. Permission granted to copy for any non-commercial use.

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We Robot 2021: Ten Year Anniversary — New Dates!

We Robot 2021 is proud to celebrate its 10th anniversary at the University of Miami School of Law. We have changed the dates to Sept. 23-25, 2021. We hope you will join us live, but we’re making plans for a virtual backup (or even perhaps….parallel….just in case.)

More info …. soonish….

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