2020 Internet2 Global Summit

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Keynote Speaker

Robotics Ethics Expert Dr. Kate Darling to Deliver Opening Keynote at Global Summit 

Dr. Kate Darling, a leading expert in robot ethics, explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines. Internet2 is pleased to announce that Dr. Darling is the Opening Keynote Speaker for the 2020 Global Summit meeting, being held March 29-April 1 in Indianapolis, IN.

Dr. Darling is a research specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, where she investigates social robotics and conducts experimental studies on human-robot interaction. Her Opening Keynote will be given at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 30

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.

Drawing from her recent work exploring humans’ emotional responses to robots, Dr. Darling typically answers questions

> What happens when robots move from behind factory walls into shared spaces and begin interacting with humans?

> What opportunities and challenges should we anticipate in the future of human-robot interaction?

> Where does the true potential of AI and robotics lie, and will robots supplement human ability, or replace it?

> Why do people treat robots like living things, and why does that matter?

> What can and can’t robots and AI do?

> What societal challenges will we face in a future with robots (ethical, legal, and social)?

Dr. Darling has a background in law and economics as well as intellectual property. She 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, according to her biography.

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, Dr. Darling increasingly works at the intersection of law and robotics, with a focus on legal and social issues. She 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, according to her biography.

Her work has been featured in Vogue, The New Yorker, The Guardian, BBC, NPR, PBS, The Boston Globe, Forbes, CBC, WIRED magazine, Boston Magazine, The Atlantic, Slate, Die Zeit, The Japan Times, and many more major publications and outlets. She is a contributing writer to Robohub and IEEE Spectrum and speaks and holds workshops covering some of the more interesting developments in the world of robotics, and where we might find ourselves in the future.

Dr. Darling graduated from law school with honors and holds a doctorate of sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and an honorary doctorate of sciences from Middlebury College. In 2017, the American Bar Association honored her legal work with the Mark T. Banner award in Intellectual Property. 

She was also recognized in 2017 as a “Radar Thinker” by Thinkers50. She is the caretaker for several domestic robots, including her Pleos Yochai, Peter, and Mr. Spaghetti.