Time to update 19th century terms for 21st century technology

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Unmanned and master/slave are two offensive terms for many in the community. Such terms may have once been accepted by society, but not anymore, and we are glad to see many organizations starting to use alternative terms.

We call on you in 2022 to remove words with negative connotations, such as those listed below, from all materials, course descriptions, department names, products, forms, reports, or articles. The benefit to you is to broaden your appeal to all members of the community who find these terms, if not outright offensive, at least outdated and representative of a mindset that has not meaningfully engaged in the creation of inclusive or modern robotics.

women in robotics took the initiative to compile a list of best practices for inclusive terminology, in consultation with other groups, and now we would like to share the first draft of “Terminology for 21st Century Technologists” for comment. So far, we have considered gender, ethnicity and some disability issues. Our goal is to create a comprehensive repository of terminology, which can be subject to a process of periodic updating, just as standards do. There is obviously a bit more work to do and we want to include sections on “how to withdraw mandates”, “how to constructively implement changes” and more information on the process. This is where you can help us.

Please send comments in response to the first draft by June 28, 2022 to [email protected]


Andra Keay is CEO of Silicon Valley Robotics, Founder of Women in Robotics, and mentor, investor, and advisor to startups, accelerators, and think tanks, with a strong interest in commercializing robotics and AI socially. positive.

Andra Keay is CEO of Silicon Valley Robotics, Founder of Women in Robotics, and a mentor, investor, and advisor to startups, accelerators, and think tanks, with a strong interest in commercializing robotics and AI socially. positive.


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