About Us

SOCRATES is the Rutgers Robotics NRT (National Research Traineeship) awarded September 2020. This program will create a new vehicle for graduate training and convergence research that integrates the technology domains of robotics with social and behavioral sciences, including psychology, cognitive science and urban policy planning.

Emerging applications of robotics, from telepresence, transportation, elder-care, remote health care, cleaning, to warehouse logistics and delivery, will bring significant changes in individuals’ lives and profound social impact, especially relating to The Future of Work, an area of national priority. The limited availability of graduate training that integrates STEM and social sciences makes the nation less prepared for the impact of robotics on jobs, the associated societal consequences and how technological developments are shaping public discourse.

The traditional objective of robotics research has been to provide automated platforms that operate at high-speed, accurately and consistently, such as in the context of manufacturing systems. As robots are being deployed in a wider variety of domains, it becomes important to consider other aspects, such as safety, adaptability to human desires, and nuanced societal impacts. At the same time, traditional social sciences are studying the effects of technology on society after the deployment and wide use of the corresponding tools. Given the potential impact that robotics can have, we cannot afford to evaluate the societal and human impact of this technology aposteriori. Thus, key questions arise:

What research can catalyze positive social impact with feasible advances in the state-of-the-art? How can costly mistakes be avoided in robotics technology development and adaptation? Current training does not equip researchers (in technology, social science or policy) with the interdisciplinary tools, theories and perspectives necessary to answer such questions. The vision of SOCRATES is to fill this gap.

The SOCRATES program has a signature emphasis on the REAL challenge (Robotics for Everyday Living), so that research and class projects will focus on application domains in everyday life and work. The program aims to train a new type of professional, the socially cognizant roboticist, which will arise from the convergence of:

  1. Socially aware technologists, who must be able to develop intelligent devices in ways that coordinate with existing human and social behavior; and
  2. Technology-aware social scientists and policy-makers who can translate studies of robotics’ social effects into actionable and technically-viable lessons

Rutgers Robotics Workshop

September 24, 2021
9:00am – 4:00pm
Busch Student Center, The Cove

Registration is required:

Come listen to talks from top industry leaders

Hui Cheng, Seedland Group

Rakesh Kumar, SRI International

Joey Durham, Amazon Robotics

Yoichiro Endo, Intelligent Automation, Inc.

Itai Segall, Nokia Bell-Labs

Dr. Daewon Lee, Samsung

Click here to view the agenda

Click here to view the student posters