IEEE TechEthics Conversations Series

Session will soon be available to watch on-demand

Live Broadcast: Tuesday, 2 October 2018
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT (GMT -4)

Self-driving cars. Robots tending the homebound. Autonomous weapons. These are just a few examples of current and future systems that feature independence from human intervention. But how much autonomy is acceptable? And does autonomy dilute the foundational principle of a responsible agent? Join us as a panel of experts delves into these important issues raised by an increasingly autonomous world.

- Mary L. ‘Missy’ Cummings | Director, Humans and Autonomy Laboratory, Duke University
- Michelle J. Johnson, Ph.D. | Director, Rehabilitation Robotic Research and Design Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania
- Wendell Wallach | Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Yale University
- Mark A. Vasquez | IEEE TechEthics Program Manager (moderator)

About the Speakers:
- Mary L. ‘Missy’ Cummings is the director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory at Duke University. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the US Naval Academy in 1988, her master’s in space systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1994, and her PhD in systems engineering from the University of Virginia in 2004. A naval officer and military pilot from 1988–99, she was one of the US Navy’s first female fighter pilots. She is also a member of the US Department of Transportation’s advisory committee on autonomous transportation, a fellow for the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics and a member of the Board of Directors for Veoneer, Inc. Her research interests include human supervisory control, human–unmanned vehicle interaction, human–autonomous systems collaboration, human–robot interaction, human systems engineering, and the ethical and social impact of technology. Missy is a member of the IEEE TechEthics Ad Hoc Committee.

- Michelle J. Johnson, Ph.D., is currently Assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Pennsylvania. She has a secondary appointment as an Assistant professor in Bioengineering and is a member of the Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics graduate group. She has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, with an emphasis in mechatronics, robotics, and design, from Stanford University. She completed a NSF-NATO post-doctoral fellowship at the Advanced Robotics Technology and Systems Laboratory at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Italy. Before moving to Philadelphia, she spent 10 years as faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University where she directed a rehabilitation robotics lab. At UPENN, she now directs the Rehabilitation Robotic Research and Design Laboratory located at the Pennsylvania Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (PIRM) at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. The lab is affiliated with the GRASP Lab. Her lab specializes in the design, development, and therapeutic use of novel, affordable, intelligent robotic assistants for rehabilitation. Dr. Johnson’s research currently focuses on using robotics to understand arm dysfunction and recovery after brain injury. She currently serves as an associate director for the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation (JNER) and is a co-chair of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, Technical Committee on Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics.

- Wendell Wallach is a scholar, consultant, and author at Yale University's Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, where he has chaired Technology and Ethics Studies for the past eleven years. He is also a senior advisor to The Hastings Center, a fellow at the Center for Law, Science & Innovation at the Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law (Arizona State University), and a fellow at the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technology. His most recent books include A Dangerous Master: How To Keep Technology From Slipping Beyond Our Control and Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong. An eight-volume Library of Essays on the Ethics of Emerging Technologies (edited by Mr. Wallach) was also recently published. Wendell is a member of the IEEE TechEthics Ad Hoc Committee.

- Mark A. Vasquez (moderator) is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with over 25 years of experience in association management at IEEE. He currently serves as the program manager for IEEE TechEthics (, a program that has been launched to drive conversations about the ethical and societal impacts of technology. In this capacity, he works to develop relationships with others in the technology ethics community, produces events, convenes thought leaders, and more. Mark is an engineering graduate of The Cooper Union.

Part of the IEEE TechEthics Conversations Series

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