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Dr Kate Darling

Robot ethicist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Do people need to be protected from machines or do robots need rights? Kate Darling, a lawyer and robot ethicist, investigates the emotional connection between humans and lifelike machines in the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She anticipates the difficult issues that might affect legislators, engineers and the general public as human-robot relations evolve in the near future. This is the perfect job for her, because Kate Darling not only graduated from law school with honours and holds a doctorate of sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), but also keeps domestic robots at home, including her robot dinosaur twins Yochai and Peter.

keynote | English

10.50 a.m.

Review
2019

"People treat robots sort of like living things"

In her keynote, Kate Darling talks about the relationship between man and machine. "Do people need to be protected from machines or do robots need rights?" The lawyer points out that one really interesting thing about robots is the ethics and that there can be an emotional connection between humans and lifelike machines.

She says that robots certainly belong to a trend to a certain extent, but there is a part that goes deeper. Namely on an emotional level. This means that with robots we have an object that behaves like a fellow human being and reaches us on an emotional level. For example, 80% of automatic vacuum cleaners have a name. This shows that we are developing a certain proximity to these robots.

She says that one big problem is, that we keep comparing automatic intelligence with human intelligence and robots with humans. By integrating robots in our households, companies and our life - we also integrate robots in our life socially. Therefore, research in human robots’ interaction is very interesting and we are additionally learning more about how we relate to others.

Video: Kate Darling © 2019 All Rights Reserved.