A leading expert in robot ethics, Dr. Kate Darling is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, where she investigates social robotics and conducts experimental studies on human-robot interaction. Kate explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines, seeking to influence technology design and policy direction. Dr. Darling’s writing and research anticipate difficult questions that lawmakers, engineers, and the wider public will need to address as human-robot relationships evolve in the coming decades.
Forever interested in how technology intersects with society, she has a background in law and economics as well as intellectual property. Dr. Darling has researched economic incentives in copyright and patent systems and has taken a role as intellectual property expert at multiple academic and private institutions. Named one of the “Women in Robotics You Need to Know About” by Robohub, she currently serves as intellectual property policy advisor to the director of the MIT Media Lab. She is also the author of the book The New Breed: What Our History with Animals Reveals About Our Future with Robots, exploring how building diverse relationships with robots could be the key to making our future with robotic technology work.
Her passion for technology and robots has led her to interdisciplinary fields. After co-teaching a robot ethics course at Harvard Law School with Professor Lawrence Lessig, she increasingly works at the intersection of law and robotics, with a focus on legal and social issues. Kate is a former Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and the Yale Information Society Project, and is also an affiliate at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.
Kate is the caretaker for several domestic robots, including her Pleos Yochai, Peter, and Mr. Spaghetti.