On the first day of this year’s Robot Ethics course, I did something new: I held a class discussion on the role that Computing technologies played in facilitating an attempted coup on the US Capitol. I’m hoping this isn’t a class activity I have to run again, but I’m glad I did it: not only because it went surprisingly well, with students eager to engage in provocative, constructive, and respectful discussion, but moreover because these are discussions we should be having in all of our classes, even those not specifically focused on technology ethics.

As I’ll discuss later on, I…


It’s a common observation that robots are becoming increasingly common in human environments, from manufacturing environments and search-and-rescue operations to education and therapy. Less commonly observed is the role that interactive robots stand to play not only on earth, but in space missions as well, with interactive robots already inhabiting the international space station and promising to continue keeping humans company in future deep space missions, such as in NASA’s planned Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway.

Enabling these future space-bound robots to effectively interact with astronauts will be critical: to solve problems together with astronauts, these robots will need to effectively communicate…


The Mines Interactive Robotics Research Lab (MIRRORLab) is excited to announce its invited speakers for Summer 2020! We’re excited to feature nine fantastic Ph.D. students this summer, from around the world, who are working in a wide range of areas across Robotics, HRI, and HCI.

Each Friday this summer, we’ll be hearing from one of these students, and will then showcase their work on the MIRRORLab’s Twitter channel (@MIRRORLab).

Summer 2020 Invited Speakers (in alphabetical order):


Something is wrong in the state of natural language generation. While deep neural end-to-end language generation systems have proven to be eminently capable of generating fluent, human-like text, they’ve also been demonstrated to be fatally flawed when it comes to generating text that is accurate and morally sensible. These challenges occur in part because neural language generation systems are trained to bullshit (in the formal linguistic sense), saying whatever will net them sweet, sweet reward, without caring whether what is said is true or false (or offensive).

In contrast, we’ve been exploring how robots can be designed to carefully, strategically…


We’re excited to announce the launch of the Robotics graduate program at the Colorado School of Mines, and the launch of this blog to celebrate all things Mines Robotics!

A New Program

Official program details will be announced when Mines Robotics’ new website launches, but in the meantime, the most important points are:

  • Certificate students will take one course each from our four focus areas: Perception, Cognition, Action, and Interaction.
  • Masters students (including combined BS+MS students!) will take an additional 18 elective credits.
  • PhD students will take a further six elective credits and complete coursework- and research-based qualifiers before moving on to full-time…

Tom Williams

Tom Williams is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the Colorado School of Mines, where he directs the MIRRORLab.

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