Plenary Speakers

Leading Expert in Social Robotics and MIT Media Lab Research Specialist

Dr. Kate Darling

Leading Expert in Social Robotics and MIT Media Lab Research Specialist

INFORMS  Roundtable Sponsored Plenary Speaker

The Future of Human-Robot Interaction

The robots are coming and they’re getting smarter, evolving from single-task devices (think Roomba) into machines that can make their own decisions and autonomously navigate public spaces. From transportation systems, hospitals and the military, to the robotization of our workplaces and households, robots will be everywhere and will increasingly interact with people.

Whether you find it exhilarating or terrifying (or both), progress in robotics and related fields like AI raises new ethical quandaries and challenges legal codes created for a world in which a sharp line separates man from machine.

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

  • 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, social)?

Dr. Darling examines why people fear some robots and empathize with others, while also prompting – and answering – questions about what society’s relationship with these robots could look like in the future. What follows is in part an examination of the technology itself, but ultimately, offers a window into how it’s poised to change the way we relate to each other and our own humanity – and why it matters.

About Dr. Kate Darling

A leading expert in robot ethics, Dr. Kate 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. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, she 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.

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 and current affiliate at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and a former fellow at the Yale Information Society Project and is also an affiliate at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. 

Kate’s work has been featured in VogueThe New YorkerThe Guardian, BBC, NPR, PBS, The Boston GlobeForbes, CBC, WIRED magazine, Boston MagazineThe 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.

Kate 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.

Chief Analytics Officer for The International Institute For Analytics (IIA)

Bill Franks

Chief Analytics Officer for The International Institute For Analytics (IIA)
The Ethics Of Analytics

As more and more data is being collected, concerns are constantly being raised about what data is appropriate to collect and how (or if) it should be analyzed. There are many ethical, privacy, and legal issues to consider and no clear standards exist in many cases as to is fair and what is foul. This means that organizations must consider their own principles and risk tolerance in order to implement the right policies.

With the increasing use of deeply embedded and automated analytics alongside the rise of artificial intelligence, concern about ethics is now coming to the forefront. This talk will cover a range of ethical, privacy, and legal issues that surround analytics and artificial intelligence today.

  • Where in an analytics process do we need to think about ethics?
  • What are some thought provoking examples that illustrate the challenges in deciding what is ethical?
  • How can organizations determine where to draw the line?
  • Who should be responsible for ensuring analytics are done in an ethical way?
  • What steps can be taken today to make an organization’s analytics more ethical?

The talk will frame the big questions to consider while providing some of the tradeoffs and ambiguities that must be addressed to answer those questions. The audience will come away with some tangible examples and action steps that they can take back to their organizations.

About Bill Franks

Bill Franks is Chief Analytics Officer for The International Institute For Analytics (IIA), where he provides perspective on trends in the analytics, AI, & big data space and helps clients understand how IIA can support their efforts to improve analytics performance. Franks is also the author of the books Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave and The Analytics Revolution. He is a sought after speaker and frequent blogger who has been ranked a top global big data influencer, a top global artificial intelligence and big data influencer, a top AI influencer, and was an inaugural inductee into the Analytics Hall of Fame. His work, including several years as Chief Analytics Officer for Teradata (NYSE: TDC), has spanned clients in a variety of industries for companies ranging in size from Fortune 100 companies to small non-profit organizations.  You can learn more at http://www.bill-franks.com.