Oregon State University is in the unique position of having one of the most advanced robotics programs in the nation, and with that distinction comes the responsibility of thinking about the hard questions intelligent machines raise as they become more integrated into daily life.

What happens when intelligent, automated technology begins to make moral decisions that affect the everyday lives of people?

That’s the question driving The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, a daylong symposium open to the public, which concludes the OSU150, the celebration of the OSU’s 150th anniversary. The free event will explore what the future holds in terms of artificial intelligence and robotics for society as a whole.

Cassie - Next Generation Robot


“Robotics and artificial intelligence will transform the world for years to come," said Kagan Tumer, director of Oregon State’s Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute (CoRIS) and one of the organizers of the symposium. “This symposium will bring together leaders from Oregon State’s top-ranked robotics and artificial intelligence programs and key industry and academic partners to talk about the implications of that transformation and what it will mean in the future.”

The university’s graduate robotics program, housed in the College of Engineering, was ranked best in the western United States and fourth in the nation, according to rankings by Grad School Hub. In 2017, the college established CoRIS to advance the theory and design of robotics and artificial intelligence.

The symposium will consist of a series of panel discussions and a keynote presentation by Jacob Ward, a science and technology correspondent for CNN and Al Jazeera. He previously served as editor-in-chief of Popular Science magazine and recently completed “Hacking Your Mind,” a four-hour series on the science and implication of bias, airing on PBS in 2019.

“The danger is not that some external artificial intelligence is going to enslave us all,” Ward wrote in a piece for Medium. “The danger is that we are going to outsource our most difficult decisions to automated systems — the morally squishy, technically tedious, resource-intensive decisions, the really important stuff — and wind up disempowering the best part of ourselves.”

Panel discussions will cover topics including: why robotics and artificial intelligence matter; the good, the bad and the ugly of artificial intelligence and robotics; how humans will interact with robots in the future; artificial intelligence and robots in the workplace; and future opportunities and threats posed by robotics and artificial intelligence.

The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics will take place at the LaSells Stewart Center and the CH2M Hill Alumni Center at OSU’s Corvallis campus. Although the symposium is free, registration is required and seating is limited. Lunch and evening reception is included for all registered attendees.

For event questions or accommodation requests, please contact Shelly Signs, (541) 737-0724 or [email protected]