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Designing Aware Robots; the EIC Pathfinder Challenge: Awareness Inside

Track: Benchmarking and Competitions

Date and Time: 13 Mar 2024 08:00-09:20

Organisers: Burak Sisman, Carlos Hernandez Corbato, Cosimo Della Santina

Main questions to be answered: What is the precise definition of awareness and consciousness in the context of artificial intelligence and robotics, and how can these concepts be applied in autonomous systems? How can we bridge the gap between traditional AI and sensory advancements to achieve awareness in robotic systems? What are the expectations of users from services or devices claiming to have awareness, and how can these expectations be met in the field of robotics?

Additional questions: How can awareness be integrated into the development of autonomous robots, and what challenges does this integration pose in terms of understanding and consciousness? In what ways do awareness-related projects, such as synthetic awareness models and cognitive deliberation capabilities, contribute to the enhancement of robotic autonomy and adaptability?

Additional questions 2: How can the ongoing research projects related to awareness in robotics? What are the key challenges in ensuring that robots and autonomous systems can respond to external stimuli while maintaining a high level of awareness?

Workshop Description: This workshop focuses on the fascinating convergence of robotics and awareness, where a comprehensive grasp of the real-world environment is crucial. Unlike standard robotics conversations, which focus on variables such as navigation and adaptability, this session delves into the awareness inside. The concept of awareness in robotics is multifaceted and essential. It goes beyond the capabilities of traditional artificial intelligence or sensory advancements. Artificial Intelligence research has a longstanding interest in exploring awareness and consciousness. However, a fundamental difficulty in this field is the precise definition of these terms. The consensus is lacking on what it truly means for an AI system to be aware or conscious. It’s widely acknowledged that current AI systems fall short of possessing genuine awareness, which extends beyond mere sensory sophistication. This leads to the central question: What should users expect from a service or device claiming to have awareness? In the scientific and philosophical discussions regarding awareness, the predominant focus has been on the human perspective, emphasizing individual experiences. These discussions explore the nature of human awareness, covering various facets like perception of the environment, understanding of time, and self-awareness. Moreover, the emergence of new technologies has raised the argument that people may be hesitant to trust robots, chatbots, or decision support systems unless these technologies can exhibit some level of awareness and genuine understanding. It is known fact that currently researchers are working on projects related to awareness, such as developing a theory of understanding and awareness for autonomous robots, delving into synthetic awareness models inspired by human metacognition, developing cognitive deliberation capabilities to allow robots to operate autonomously and safely for extended periods, creating a wearable sensorimotor interface to facilitate mutual awareness between humans and robots, particularly for individuals with upper-limb disabilities. These projects also emphasize the necessity of intelligence and awareness in manipulation systems, increasing robot autonomy and adaptability, and underscoring the importance of purpose-driven awareness in autonomous learning. Furthermore, there are projects focused on developing microsized robots capable of responding to external stimuli, highlighting the significance of awareness in collaborative robotics. Collectively, these projects reflect the ongoing efforts to enhance awareness and consciousness in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics, with the goal of creating more capable and trustworthy autonomous systems. The workshop’s major purpose is to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and insights regarding the pivotal intersection of robotics and awareness. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the multifaceted concept of awareness in the context of robotics, going beyond traditional discussions of navigation and adaptability. This workshop aims to foster discussions that focus on the intrinsic understanding and consciousness within robotic systems. We recognize that the realm of awareness within robotics is a complex and essential area of study, transcending the boundaries of conventional artificial intelligence and sensory advancements. The convergence of these fields holds great promise for the development of more capable, intuitive, and trustworthy autonomous systems. By bringing together professionals, both academic and industry in this field, we aspire to delve deeper into the core questions and challenges surrounding awareness in robotics. Furthermore, the workshop aims to stimulate innovative thinking and drive the development of cutting-edge technologies that will ultimately enhance the capabilities of robots. Together, we seek to unlock the full potential of awareness in the world of artificial intelligence and robotics. This workshop will be part of the portfolio activities of the EIC Pathfinder Challenge: Awareness Inside. The invited speakers listed below are PIs involved in at least one of the projects in the portfolio. The workshop’s major goal is to facilitate meaningful talks and collaborations between early-stage researchers, people from industry and panelists. Regarding the Workshop Extended Abstract-Paper, authors of approved submissions will be given the opportunity to pitch their work to all attendees in the venue, with the sessions organized in a poster teaser format. In addition to the presentations, a panel and interactive panel discussion will be offered, allowing participants to get a preliminary understanding of the various research contributions and to deepen their questions with relevant people. This format seeks to make things easier.

Intended Outcome: Workshop on recent developments in technology or applications, Workshop discussion topics of common interest, success stories, use cases, etc

Approach: We will hold a 80 min workshop dedicated to the previously stated theme for in-depth talks. Our workshop session will have 5 min Opening and Welcome Speech (%6.25), 20 minutes Interactive Poster session (%25), 25 minutes panelist pitches on awareness session (%31.25), 28 minutes Interactive Panel Discussion (%35) and 2 minutes Closing speech (%2.5). We aim to have 4-7 posters in this session. We will have four notable invited speakers (panelists) for panelist pitches on awareness session. The workshop’s intended program schedule is outlined below: Invited Speakers/Panelists – Sabine Huert, University of Bristol (confirmed) – Davide Bacciu, Università di Pisa (confirmed) – Ricardo Sanz, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (confirmed) – Giovanni Iacca, University of Trento (confirmed) Time Activity Duration Comments 09:00 – 09:05 Opening: Welcome by Organizers 5 min. 09:05 – 09:25 Interactive Poster session 20 min. (4-7 posters) 09:25 – 09:50 Panelist pitches on awareness 25 min. (confirmed) Panelists: Ricardo Sanz, Sabine Huert, Davide Bacciu, Giovanni Iacca 09:50 – 10:18 Interactive panel discussion 28 min. 10:18 – 10:20 Closing 2 min.

Contributors: Invited Speakers (Panelists) – Sabine Huert, University of Bristol, (confirmed speaker) – Davide Bacciu, Università di Pisa, (confirmed speaker) – Ricardo Sanz, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, (confirmed speaker) – Giovanni Iacca, University of Trento, (confirmed speaker)