Call for Papers: We Robot 2018



Event Date: 

04/12/18 to 04/14/18

Location name: 

Palo Alto, California

April 12–14, 2018
Stanford Law School
Palo Alto, California

Basic Information

  • Conference Website:
  • Abstracts/Proposals are due by 5pm Pacific Time on November 6, 2017
  • Submissions will be reviewed and notifications of acceptance will be delivered on December 11, 2017
  • Final papers (or definitive deliverable if a project) are due no later than March 1, 2018


We invite submissions for the seventh annual robotics law and policy conference—We Robot 2018—to be held at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, California on April 12-14, 2018. In past years, the conference has been held at University of Miami School of Law, University of Washington School of Law, Stanford Law School, and Yale Law School. The conference website is

We Robot fosters conversations between those who research, design, or influence the legal and social structures in which robots operate and those that design, build, and deploy robots. We encourage contributions resulting from interdisciplinary collaborations, such as those between roboticists, legal, ethical, economic, social science and policy scholars.

Qualified submissions include scholarly paper abstracts, detailed outlines of robotics demos, and expressions of interest in being a discussant.  Other creative proposals are welcome. We Robot favors proposals (written scholarship and relevant demos) that are a collaboration between law/policy scholars and technologists.  This year we are particularly interested in submissions exploring the interface between the digital and physical world.

Scholarly Papers

Scholarly papers are academic works presented by a discussant instead of the author(s). Topics of interest for the scholarly paper portion of the conference will tend to focus on the interaction between robots and social structures and include, but are not limited to:

  • The interface between the digital and the physical.
  • Positive or negative impacts of robotics on vulnerable populations.
  • Inclusion and diversity in the field of robotics and robotics law and policy.
  • Law/policy considerations in the evaluation or enhancement of security and safety in publicly accessible or public facing robots.

These are only some examples of relevant topics. We are very interested in papers on other topics driven by actual or probable robot deployments. The purpose of this conference is to help set a research agenda relating to the deployment of robots in society, to inform policy-makers of the issues, and to help design legal rules that will maximize diversity and minimize exclusion arising from the increased deployment of robots in society. Papers are selected on a blind basis by an interdisciplinary program committee.


Proposals for demonstrations may be purely descriptive and designer/builders will be asked to present their work themselves. We’d like to hear about your latest innovations, what’s on the drawing board for the next generations of robots, or about legal and policy issues you have encountered in the design or deploy process.


We also invite expressions of interest from potential discussants. Every paper accepted will be assigned a discussant who will present and comment on the paper. Because it is an expectation at We Robot that our audience is in fact a larger group of participants who have read the papers as a precondition of attendance, these presentations will be very brief (no more than 15 minutes) and will consist mostly of making a few points critiquing the author’s paper to kick off the conversation. Authors will then respond briefly (no more than 5 minutes). The rest of the session will consist of a group discussion with the discussant acting as a moderator, whose role is to encourage and promote diverse, inclusive, and active participation from our audience.

Scholarly Paper Prizes

The program committee will select an “Overall Best Paper” and a “Best Paper” submitted by an early career academic.   The prize for each award is $2,000.   Scholarly papers are only eligible if submitted in a timely fashion (see timeline below) and “early career academic” is defined as a scholar with a full-time appointment but less than three years teaching experience as of the abstract submission deadline.

How to Submit Your Proposal – Abstract Submission Deadline is November 6, 2017

  • Abstracts/Proposals are due by 5pm Pacific Time on November 6, 2017 *
  • Submissions will be reviewed and notifications of acceptance will be delivered on December 11, 2017
  • Final papers (or definitive deliverable if a project) are due no later than March 1, 2018

Submit Proposal

It may be informative to review past conference content and selected papers.  You can view past We Robot conference details (including selected papers and projects) here:

* Please note that the November 6, 2017 submission deadline requires an abstract (with or without additional materials or explanation) or a detailed proposal and does not require the final paper or submission of the completed project.

For most accepted papers/projects, we anticipate paying reasonable round-trip domestic or international coach airfare and providing hotel accommodation for presenters and discussants.

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