Editor’s Note: As a proud marketing partner of the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego and their Contextual Robotics Forum, we wanted to share the summary of what was covered.  From all accounts, it was a fabulous success. Here is a portion of the story with a link to the rest.  Enjoy.

Tackling Changes and Challenges With Robotics

2016 Contextual Robotics Forum
Photos by Alex Matthews/Qualcomm Institute and Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

More than 200 engineers and scientists take part in Contextual Robotics Institute Forum on Campus

San Diego, Calif., Nov. 3, 2016 — An increasing number of self-driving cars and delivery drones. An aging, and sometimes ailing, population. More complex and automated factories. These are just some of the changes coming to the United States in the next decades. Friday, more than 200 engineers and social scientists, from industry and the university, came together on campus to discuss how robotics could help tackle the challenges that these changes will no doubt bring.

They were taking part in the University of California San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute’s third annual forum. The one-day event featured talks by world leaders on developing robotics for the benefit of society. This year’s theme was “Shared Autonomy: New Directions in Human-Machine Interaction.”

The forum has grown over the years and reflects the increased importance of robotics in the San Diego region, said Albert P. Pisano, dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. This year’s event featured talks by top researchers at Qualcomm, Facebook, Nissan, Toyota and Leidos, as well as UC San Diego. “We are building right here in real time before your eyes a world-class robotics cluster in San Diego and the greater CaliBaja region,” Pisano said Friday.

At the center of it all is UC San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute, a partnership between the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Division of Social Sciences, which now includes more than 60 faculty members. This is an unusual and dynamic alliance, pointed out Carol Padden, dean of the Division of Social Sciences at UC San Diego. “We study how humans behave in the presence of intelligent machines,” she said. “One of the key questions we ask is what makes machines compelling? Why should machines be social? How should people interact with intelligent machines?”

These questions will have to be answered as robots, from self-driving cars to helpful companions, turn up in our everyday lives. “We want to make sure we think about how new technologies are going to impact people’s everyday life,” said Henrik I. Christensen, director of the Contextual Robotics Institute and a professor of computer science at UC San Diego.

Full story here. 

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