Our Robotics Futures: A Time Capsule

Ever since the start of the Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) conference, we read something like “Robots will soon be entering our lives…” at the beginning of almost every paper. However, in a significant number of HRI scenarios, this has not happened yet. Hence, the theme of this year’s Alt.HRI’22 track is “Our Robotics Futures: A Time Capsule.”

Alt.HRI is traditionally looking for the most audacious, creative and thought-provoking ideas supported by rigorous research that does not fit elsewhere. This year’s Alt.HRI track looks specifically for papers speculating relevant findings around the question: What is the impact of social robots in the next five years? We invite all the disciplines related to HRI to summit work investigating the unexpected, controversial, creative, and diverse aspects related to this question. Alt.HRI 2022 submissions are expected to discuss the next innovations in social robotics impacting outside of academia.

Alt.HRI studies can be described as inspiring, controversial, non-obvious, rigorous, well-argued, evidence-based, and research-supported. Discussion about the impact of social robots in the future can include topics as:

  1. HRI impact on society and communities,
  2. HRI impact on other disciplines,
  3. Design of robots (dexterity, embodiment and behavioural HRI),
  4. Social robots in uncontrolled environments,
  5. Commercial impact of robots,
  6. Philosophy, Ethics and Moral on HRI,
  7. New and controversial methods assessing HRI (Wizard of Oz, fake it until you make it, et cetera),
  8. Robots and COVID and coming pandemics and lockdowns,
  9. Law, social justice, robot/human rights, discrimination, politics, theology and HRI,
  10. Misconceptions and pseudoscience on HRI.

Of course, other controversial topics and approaches are also welcome. Alt.HRI papers aim to trigger meaningful and respectful discussions in the HRI community. We strongly encourage submissions in which empirical findings support the conclusions drawn.

    Furthermore, for the first time, Alt.HRI will award an “Impact Award” for the best paper using an online, mixed method approach with scores from experts and the public.

      Finally, ACM Digital Library and IEEE Xplore Digital Library will be used as public repositories for the Alt.HRI time capsules. In five years, the Alt.HRI’27 committee and the HRI community will be able to compare the predictions made with the then present. We believe that this forecasting exercise will stimulate much insightful discussion about the future of HRI and the impact of our work among both young and experienced HRI researchers.

      Feel free to have a look at previously accepted papers in Alt.HRI in the conference programs HRI’21, HRI’20, HRI’19, HRI’18, HRI’17, HRI’16.


        • Important Dates (end of the day, all around the world).:
        • Submission Deadline: Monday, 29th November 2021.
        • Notification of Acceptance: Friday, 7th January 2022.
        • Final Submission: Wednesday, 12th January 2022.

          Submissions will be rigorously double-blind peer-reviewed by a cohort of HRI experts from the most diverse backgrounds.

            Guidelines for Alt.HRI Submission

            1. Please use a language that is accessible to a broad audience and avoid special terms that may be common in your home discipline, but that may be unknown to people in HRI in general. In case you need them, please explain in detail the concepts you draw on.
            2. Even though Alt.HRI invites creative submissions, disruptive ideas, and controversial topics, all submissions should support their findings, positions, and proposals according to rigorous academic standards.
            3. Alt.HRI encourages discussion with respect among diverse academic communities and is open to all kinds of discussions; nevertheless, all topics should be addressed respectfully.
            4. Alt.HRI encourages you to support your submission with pertinent additional materials (videos, datasets, etcetera) helping to better understand your manuscript and encourage replicability. Please check the SIGCHI guidelines here.
            5. Please prepare your submission following the accessibility HRI guidelines

            Preparing your PDF submission:

            The PDF format can have major accessibility problems, especially for screen reader users.  In order to support those among us who need accessible PDFs, HRI is working to improve the accessibility of our PDF proceedings and review process.  We are asking all authors to make an effort to make their submissions more accessible at every point in the submission process.

              If you are submitting a paper on accessibility or assistive technology, please refer to the SIGACCESS guidelines on writing about disability.

                As you prepare your document, please follow these steps from the SIGCHI Guide to an Accessible Submission, then refer to the guide for information on how to prepare the final accessible PDF:

                1. Mark up content such as headings and lists using the correct Word template style or LaTeX markup.
                2. In figures, legends, and the text that refers to the figures, use different shapes and patterns to provide a means other than color to visually distinguish elements.
                3. Provide a text description for all figures (see the SIGACCESS Guide to Describing Figures)
                4. Create every table as a real table, not an image, and indicate which cells are headers.
                5. Create every equation as a marked-up equation, not an image.
                6. Set the metadata of your document.

                If you are a LaTeX user, please be aware that you may run into challenges with generating an accessible PDF; we ask that you do your best but understand that it may not be possible to generate a fully accessible PDF from LaTeX.  You can do a rudimentary check of your PDF’s accessibility using Adobe Reader’s Read Out Loud tool and Apple’s built-in reading tool, but be aware that these are not full-featured screen readers and will not check all key accessibility features.

                  If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the conference accessibility chairs at


                    Papers must be submitted via PCS. Accepted papers will be presented at the digital conference and will be archived in the ACM Digital Library and IEEE Xplore Digital Library.

                      The paper needs to be anonymized, 4-8 pages long (plus references) and need to follow the IEEE Conference template format (US Letter). You can find the Word and Latex templates here. The IEEE has partnered with Overleaf, where authors can start writing using this link directly.

                        ALT.HRI Chairs

                        Kerstin Fischer (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark)

                        Eduardo B. Sandoval (University of New South Wales, Australia)