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ICRA and interesting things in robotics this week

ICRA and interesting things in robotics this week
By Andra Keay • Issue #13 • View online
I hope everyone is catching parts of the ICRA 2021 Program - with live feed links on bilibili here: https://www.ieee-icra.org/program.html
I’m becoming more heavily involved with IEEE (not just through Women in Robotics or the Global AIS Ethics Panels or Conference Industry CoChair) but as the incoming VP of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Industrial Activities Board. I’ll be stepping into Rob Ambrose’s shoes (NASA) for 2022 and 2023 and the new strategy aligns perfectly with Silicon Valley Robotics’ strategy starting with close partnerships with adjacent industry associations in the construction industry, agriculture, food production/preparation etc.

Events
Our next online Job Fair is in two weeks so post your jobs at https://svrobo.org/robojobs and there’ll be a spot at the event available to meet potential candidates. Companies say it’s been very successful for them.
The AI LA Community is hosting its annual Responsible AI Symposium this year in partnership with The AI Responsibility Lab.
Participants from corporate, government, academic, and professional service roles will explore how to kick start their own practical journey in reducing the harms and risks created by AI Systems through an interactive virtual experience.
We will discuss the questions AI raises regarding bias, ethics, and privacy, and we explore what a fair, accountable, and transparent AI system looks like.
News
Robotic event showcases assisted living laboratory first via Access and Mobility Professionals
Bonus material!
Science Committee Envisions Expanded DOE Office of Science
House Science Committee Takes Broad Look at Innovation Strategy
  1. What happened: A range of Chinese chip manufacturers have embarked on a gargantuan effort to trace their entire supply chain to figure out the provenance of their bill of materials. This is in response to a call to develop self-sufficiency fueled by the ongoing tensions between the US and China, especially as companies get put on the US Entity List that prohibits US companies from supplying to Chinese manufacturers. This has had ripple effects whereby companies from other countries are on tenterhooks in supplying these companies. In addition, given the immense complexity of the chip manufacturing supply chain coupled with extreme concentration of manufacturing equipment and other raw materials in different parts of the world, for the foreseeable future, a clean decoupling is going to be really hard. This is not just from the Chinese perspective, but also from a US perspective, where China still accounts for a large fraction of the supply of raw materials for chip manufacturing. 
  2. Why it matters: From the Chinese perspective, calls for self-sufficiency have been made by the government for many years, the current trade tensions only accelerate that trend. It also provides the efforts of the government with some cover to boost local initiatives and bring home some of the knowledge and expertise required to successfully produce chips, arguably the hottest commodity given the rising pace of digitalization. From a US perspective, the decoupling is seen as something of strategic value where they want to have “neck-choking” capabilities to achieve other strategic aims using choke-points in the supply chain to negotiate. 
  3. Between the lines: A part of this development trend is that we will get more distributed knowledge and potentially increased competition in the very concentrated nature of the supply chain today. On the other hand, perhaps there will also be a limited sharing of knowledge if countries begin to realize that they need to shore up their domestic competence in case the world becomes more siloed and a country loses its technological edge because of a lack of access to chips which have become a flashpoint in the technological ecosystem.
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Andra Keay

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