SUSTAINABLE HUMANITARIAN TECHNOLOGIES FORUM
THE ROLE OF ROBOTICS, AUTOMATION, AND AI IN DEVELOPING ECONOMIES
Full-day Forum, International Conference on Robotics and
Automation (ICRA), May 24, 2018
ORGANIZERS: RAJ MADHAVAN & DANIEL ASMAR
Humanitarian robotics, automation, and artificial
intelligence technologies will play an ever-increasing role in global
development, particularly in developing economies, in the coming years sooner
than one might think or be willing to admit. We are already witnessing several instantiations of such applications in established
domains ranging from manufacturing and defense to emerging areas such
as disaster response, firefighting, and education, to name a few
(for instance, see (RAS SIGHT) for a listing of the projects being carried out under the auspices of the IEEE
RAS Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology). The United
Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development consists of
seventeen Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) that include building
resilient infrastructures for sustainable industrialization and
fostering innovation (Goal 9) to strengthening and revitalizing global partnerships for sustainable development (Goal 17) among others.
Adoption of emerging technologies tends to be slow in
developing countries due to reasons that are usually beyond GDP rates and
standard of living indices. Whilst the potential of these technologies is
for the most part undeniable, the challenge lies in making them
reliable, cost-effective and easily accessible for the masses by taking
into account socio-economic, cultural, environmental, and
sustainability factors. Additionally, ethical, legal, and societal considerations
of robotics, automation, and other emerging AI technologies are
of paramount importance as the demarcation lines between
individual privacy, safety, and security and those of the collective society
get blurred without timely governance and regulation. To address these concerns, the Sustainable Humanitarian
Technologies Forum will take on the above issues centered on the following
The Forum will bring together experts and thinkers from both technology and public policy domains. The format will consist of keynote
addresses and regular presentations with a mini panel discussion after
each thematic session covering the gamut of issues stemming not only
from research, development, and deployment standpoints but also those
from public perception of robotics, automation, and AI.
An hour-long panel discussion will conclude the Forum with
audience participation both at the conference venue and elsewhere (via
Twitter and Facebook). As a record of the Forum, we intend to capture key
points from speakers, salient points from the discussions, identify
missing gaps and future steps, and summarize them in a post-event White
Paper to formulate action items.
CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS
If you are working in the above areas and if the goals and themes
of the Forum are of interest to you, we would love to hear from you! We
are soliciting presentations from researchers and practitioners
from industry, academia, NGOs, NPOs, regulatory, and funding agencies.
Please email us a 2-page (max.) write-up of your background, experience,
and what you would like to present at the Forum to <email@example.com>. In addition,
include a separate section in your submission on how your participation/presentation would
benefit the Forum. Note that you are not required to write a paper
but your presentation at the Forum will be archived post-event for the
benefit of the community.
Depending on the level of interest, selected presenters will be
invited to write an expanded article for a special issue journal. Along
with your submission, let us know if you would be interested in
submitting an article to such a special issue.
The role of Field Robotics in Food Production:
The cost reduction in robotic technologies is opening up various opportunities to support the need of emerging and developing countries. One of these is in food production and in particular producing nutritious food. There are a number of challenges including ICT education, economic justification, and a supporting technology ecosystem, all of which are required to form a sustainable outcome. In this talk an overview of some of the agriculture robotics activities being undertaken at the ACFR in STEM, indigenous agriculture, and developing countries will be presented along with the challenges being faced.