Robots Have Feelings Too: A Discussion About Technology Reflecting the Communities They Serve (and Biases They Still Hold)


Abstract: Research has shown that technology does not lack bias - in fact, technology maintains and sometimes amplifies the biases of its developers. As society continues to make technological advances, particularly in the space of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), it is important to ensure that teams are being intentional about building diverse and inclusive teams, incorporating responsible and ethical development practices, and consciously considering how technologies will impact the communities they serve. If teams are not intentional about catering to diverse users or fail to center the human experience of a diverse set of end users, their products can cause more harm than progress - hence the need for diverse perspectives on tech teams and considering diverse end users. Since the racial unrest in 2020 as a result of increased anti-Black and anti-Asian racist events, there has been a much-needed increase in discussion, research, and advocacy around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI). These discussions have become increasingly prevalent across various professional spaces, including tech. However, JEDI research may not make it to practitioners. Using empirical evidence and insights from researchers in academia and industry, this talk will close the JEDI research-to-practice gap by describing strategies to incorporate in robotics teams. Attendees will leave with tangible recommendations to consider for increasing diversity and participation in robotics research when implementing JEDI in current and future research projects.

License: CC-3.0
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