Virtual Event: Kate Darling


The New Breed:
What Our History with Animals Reveals
about Our Future with Robots

in conversation with RANA EL KALIOUBY


May 11, 2021
7:00 PM ET


Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.


Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome KATE DARLING—a Research Specialist at the MIT Media Lab and a leading expert in robot ethics—for a discussion of her book The New Breed: What Our History with Animals Reveals about Our Future with Robots. She will be joined in conversation by RANA EL KALIOUBY, co-Founder and CEO of Affectiva and author of Girl Decoded: A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology.

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About The New Breed

There has been a lot of ink devoted to discussions of how robots will replace us and take our jobs. But MIT Media Lab researcher and technology policy expert Kate Darling argues just the opposite, and that treating robots with a bit of humanity, more like the way we treat animals, will actually serve us better. From a social, legal, and ethical perspective, she shows that our current ways of thinking don’t leave room for the robot technology that is soon to become part of our everyday routines. Robots are likely to supplement—rather than replace—our own skills and relationships. So if we consider our history of incorporating animals into our work, transportation, military, and even families, we actually have a solid basis for how to contend with this future.

A deeply original analysis of our technological future and the ethical dilemmas that await us, The New Breed explains how the treatment of machines can reveal a new understanding of our own history, our own systems and how we relate—not just to non-humans, but also to each other.

Praise for The New Breed

“Well-researched, well-developed, and well-written, Darling’s innovative proposal—to use our history of human-animal interactions as a blueprint for the future of human-robot interactions—is a must read for anyone interested in the emerging ethics of robotics. The New Breed raises serious questions and provides some intriguing answers.” —Irene M. Pepperberg, PhD; Associate Professor at Harvard and author of the New York Times bestseller Alex & Me

"In this extraordinary and wide-ranging book, Kate Darling fundamentally reframes how we should understand these new forces within our life. From their effect upon the nature of work, to their critical role in the emotional life of many, robots will matter much as animals have mattered. Indeed, when we examine the role of design, Darling’s perspective helps us see how they will matter much more." —Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School

"The New Breed is a riveting and engaging book, full of wit and wisdom. It goes beyond the tired tropes of utopia and dystopia, and presents a nuanced and smart take on our relationships to robots.” —Bruce Schneier, author of Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyperconnected World

Dr. Kate Darling
Dr. Kate Darling

Dr. Kate Darling

Dr. Kate Darling is a leading expert in Robot Ethics. She’s a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, where she explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines, seeking to influence technology design and policy direction. 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. Her work has been featured in Vogue, the New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Guardian, the BBC, WIRED, and more. She is the caretaker for several domestic robots, including her Pleos Yochai, Peter, and Mr. Spaghetti.

Rana el Kaliouby
Rana el Kaliouby

Rana el Kaliouby

A pioneer in Emotion AI, Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D., is Co-Founder and CEO of Affectiva, and author of the newly released book Girl Decoded: A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology. A passionate advocate for humanizing technology, ethics in AI and diversity, Rana has been recognized on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list and as one of Forbes' Top 50 Women in Tech. Rana is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a Young Presidents' Organization member, and co-hosted a PBS NOVA series on AI. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and a Post Doctorate from MIT.


Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Harvard Science Book Talks

The Harvard Science Book Talks series is a collaboration between the Harvard University Division of Science, the Harvard Library, and Harvard Book Store. The series features talks by the authors of recently published books on a variety of science-related topics and is open to both the Harvard community and to the general public. Typically, lectures are followed by a book signing with the author and refreshments. Learn more and watch recordings of past talks here

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