Navigating the (Mis)Perceptions of Autonomous Vehicles

Thursday, November 14, 2019, 6:30 - 8pm

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Autonomous vehicles are the future. Or are they? As with any potentially transformative technology, there is much to look forward to. But there is also plenty of hype. Join us as IEEE TechEthics hosts a public panel session addressing the facts and misperceptions of autonomous vehicles, particularly in the context of their impact on society. Panelists include:

- Jason Borenstein | Georgia Tech
- Mary "Missy" Cummings | Duke University
- Jack Pokrzywa | SAE
- Heather Roff | Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab
- Mark A. Vasquez ME'88 | IEEE TechEthics Program Manager (moderator)

Watch the recorded version of this event here.


Jason Borenstein, Ph.D., is the Director of Graduate Research Ethics Programs and Associate Director of the Center for Ethics and Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His appointment is divided between the School of Public Policy and the Office of Graduate Studies. Dr. Borenstein is also an associate editor of the journal Science and Engineering Ethics, co-editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s Ethics and Information Technology section, and an editorial board member of the journal Accountability in Research. He is also Editor for Research Ethics for the National Academy of Engineering's Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science. Dr. Borenstein’s research interests include bioethics, engineering ethics, robot ethics, and research ethics. He is currently a Co-Principal Investigator on a five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) entitled "Institutional Transformation: The Role of Service Learning and Community Engagement on the Ethical Development of STEM Students and Campus Culture". He is also a Co-Principal Investigator on NSF-funded projects related to: Fairness, Ethics, Accountability and Transparency (FEAT) in computing education and research; robots, gender, and bias; and programming ethics into humanoid robots. His work has appeared in numerous professional journals including AI & Society, Communications of the ACM, Science and Engineering Ethics, the Journal of Academic Ethics, Ethics and Information Technology, IEEE Technology & Society, Accountability in Research, and the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review.

Professor Mary (Missy) Cummings received her B.S. in Mathematics from the US Naval Academy in 1988, her M.S. in Space Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1994, and her Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2004. A naval officer and military pilot from 1988-1999, she was one of the U.S. Navy's first female fighter pilots. She is currently a Professor in the Duke University Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and the Director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory. She is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Fellow, a member of the AIAA Board of Trustees, the Defense Innovation Board, and the Veoneer, Inc. Board of Directors. Her research interests include human supervisory control, explainable artificial intelligence, human-autonomous system collaboration, human-robot interaction, human-systems engineering, and the ethical and social impact of technology.

Jack Pokrzywa is responsible for the overall performance of the SAE Global Ground Vehicle Standards global program, including technical research development and international standards harmonization. In his responsibility for managing SAE Ground Vehicle Standards, he interacts regularly with trade associations, government agencies, national, regional and international Standards Developing Organizations, inspection authorities and advanced technology providers. As the United States Technical Advisory Group Chairperson to the ISO Technical Committee on Road Vehicles, he is responsible for ensuring that the US technical position is effectively represented in the standards development process. Prior to joining SAE, Pokrzywa worked at the Automotive Industry Action Group, a trade association of automotive OEMs and suppliers, where he managed computer design and simulation projects. Before joining AIAG, Jack held several management positions in Germany and the UK with Octal GmbH, a computer graphics software developer headquartered in Silicon Valley. He was responsible for initial start-up, daily operation and business development in the European market. Prior to that, he held various engineering positions with an automotive supplier, Lamb Technicon, on advanced automation projects. An M.A. graduate of Warsaw’s Catholic University, and Warsaw’s Technical Institute with engineering certificate, Pokrzywa is the member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Board of Directors and the ANSI/ISO Council.

Dr. Heather M. Roff is currently a Senior Research Analyst at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in the National Security Analysis Department. She is also a Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution and an Associate Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge. Before joining APL, she was a Research Scientist at DeepMind, in its Ethics & Society team, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, a Research Scientist in the Global Security Initiative at Arizona State University, and has held faculty positions at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, the University of Waterloo, and the United States Air Force Academy. She also held Fellowships at New America in the Cybersecurity Initiative and the Future of War Project. Her research interests include the law, policy and ethics of emerging military technologies, such as autonomous weapons, artificial intelligence, robotics and cyber, as well as international security and human rights protection. She is author of Global Justice, Kant and the Responsibility to Protect (Routledge 2013), as well as numerous scholarly articles. She has provided expert testimony and advice regarding lethal autonomous weapons and artificial intelligence to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense, the Canadian Department of National Defense, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

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 drives 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. Made possible, in part, by a grant from the IEEE Foundation.

IEEE ( is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.

Please note that the event will also be livestreamed. Registration for the livestream is also required.

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.