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The We Robot Conference is the main event and includes a mix of single paper sessions, dual paper sessions, multi-paper sessions, poster presentations, demonstrations and art installations.


We will host three activities as part or around We Robot 2020:

  • the We Robot Conference on April 3-4, 2020,
  • the We Robot Workshop on  April 2, 2020,
  • and a Special Event celebrating CLTS and Ian R. Kerr on April 1, 2020.

Important Note

Schedule and locations subject to change without prior notice.

We Robot 2020 Conference

A key part of what makes We Robot special is that paper authors do not present their papers. The typical We Robot presentation starts with a quick summary and analysis by an expert discussant, followed by a very short response by the author(s). Then the main part begins: audience questions and comments. We Robot attendees are every bit as much a part of the event as the people on stage. The interdisciplinary and international conversation is at the heart of the action. We will publish the papers online a month in advance and ask attendees to read them.

Friday, April 3rd, 2020

Desmarais Building, 55 Laurier E, uOttawa

08:30 Registration and Breakfast
09:00Opening Remarks

Sextech, Fantasy and Offence: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb(shell)
Lara Karaian (Carleton University)

Discussant: To be announced.


Beyond “In the Loop”: On The Role of Meaningful Human Control in High-Stakes Machine-Human Partnerships
Liam G. McCoy (University of Toronto), Jacquelyn Burkell, Dallas Card, Brent Davis, Judy Gichoya, Sophie Le Page, and David Madras

Discussant: To be announced.


Artificial Intelligence in a Gendered and Racialized World: Emergence on the African Continent
Laura Foster (Indiana University Bloomington), Bram Van Wiele, and Tobias Schonwetter

Discussant: To be announced.

12:15Lightning Poster Session

Dual Session “Sentiment Analysis in AI”

Discussant: To be announced.

  • Off-the-Shelf Sentiment Analysis: The Policy Problem of Subjectively Annotated Data for Objectively Measured Models
    Emily McBain-Ashfield (University of Ottawa), and Jason Millar
  • The Ethics of Emotion in AI Systems
    Luke Stark (Microsoft), and Jesse Hoey

Dual Session “Participatory Robotics Design”

Discussant: To be announced.

  • Involving Seniors in Developing Privacy Best Practices: Toward Responsible Development of Anthropomorphic Social Support Technologies for Seniors
    Andrea Slane (Ontario Tech University), Isabel Pedersen, and Patrick Hung
  • Interdisciplinary Design Curriculum for the Future of Work
    Yunus Dogan Telliel (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), and Cagdas Onal

Panel Session “Legal Liability and Accountability”

Discussant: To be announced.

  • A Law & Economics Approach to Human-Machine Accountability
    Adam Hill (University of California, Berkeley)
  • “I’m hooked!” said the robot: a proposal to apply liability from social contact to autonomous machines
    Silvia De Conca (University of Tilburg)
  • To Punish or Not to Punish: Legal and Policy Implications of a Large-Scale Survey on the Status and Punishability of AI and Robots
    Kyung Sin Park (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), Gabriel Lima, Chihyung Jeon, and Meeyoung Cha
  • Missing the Unintended Forest despite the Deliberately Planted Trees: Establishing Legal Recognition of Platform Algorithm-Facilitated Emergent Systemic Harm to Historically Marginalized Groups
    Cynthia Khoo (University of Ottawa)
17:00Day 1 Closing Remarks
17:30Poster Session & Reception 
19:30Conference Dinner 

Saturday, April 4th, 2020

Desmarais Building, 55 Laurier E, uOttawa

08:30 Check-in and Breakfast

Dual Session “Facial Recognition and Identity Manipulation”

Discussant: To be announced.

  • Identity Manipulation: Responding to advances in artificial intelligence and robotics
    Suzie Dunn (University of Ottawa)
  • Uses of Facial Recognition Technology for Security and Surveillance Purposes: Balancing Personal Integrity Risks and Society-wide Benefits
    Ruyi Ding (Stockholm University)

When Packets are People: Neutrality in the Age of Automated Mobility
Jason Millar (University of Ottawa), and Elizabeth Gray

Discussant: To be announced.


Integrating Africa into Global AI Policy Agendas
Arthur Gwagwa (Strathmore University), Isaac Rutenberg, Jeremy de Beer, Erika Kraember-Mbula, and Nagla Rizk

Discussant: To be announced.


Algorithmic Governance: The New Machinery of Government
Teresa Scassa (University of Ottawa)

Discussant: To be announced.


Reconciling Legal and Technical Approaches to Algorithmic Bias
Alice Xiang (Partnership on AI)

Discussant: To be announced.


Dual Session “Corporate Perspectives”

Discussant: To be announced.

  • Humans in the Loop: Building a culture of responsible AI
    Jesslyn Dymond (TELUS), Elena Novas, and Ivey Chiu
  • Implementing Prospective, Accidental, Unknown, Systemic, and Enduring (PAUSE) Harms Analysis for AI systems
    Katherine Pratt (Microsoft), Neil Coles, Josh Lovejoy, and Mira Lane
15:50Break and Poster Awards

Why Must We Go To Extremes? Comparative Dystopia as Robotics Law
Kristen Thomasen (University of Windsor), and Ryan Calo

Discussant: To be announced.

17:15Paper Awards
17:30Conference Closing Remarks

We Robot 2020 Workshop

The We Robot Workshop is a pre-event and includes a mix of keynotes, panels, collaborative activities, demonstrations and installations.

Please note that admission to the We Robot Workshop is not included in the main conference registration fee.

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

STEM Complex, 150 Louis-Pasteur, uOttawa

08:30 Registration and Breakfast
09:00Robotics and AI 101
10:15Roundtable: A Global Take on Robotics and AI Law and Policy
13:00Workshop 1: How Robot Firmware can Adapt to its Legal Context
15:30Workshop 2: Forecasting as a Method for Robotics Law and Policy
17:30Closing Remarks

Special Event

On April 1st, 2020, at 3pm, the University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society will host a special event celebrating both its 10th anniversary and 20 years of technology law, ethics, and policy at the University of Ottawa.

Our international community will also celebrate the legacy of Dr. Ian R. Kerr, a uOttawa Faculty member and one of the We Robot conference founders. In the evening, the Centre will host the inaugural Ian R. Kerr Memorial Lecture on Technology and Society.


10th Anniversary of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society

20 Years of Technology Law, Ethics and Policy at uOttawa

Details to come.


Ian R. Kerr Memorial Lecture on Technology and Society

Details to come.