Kate Darling

Director's Office
  • Research Specialist

Dr. Kate Darling is a leading expert in Robot Ethics and also the Media Lab's intellectual property policy advisor. Her passion is in investigating social robotics, exploring the emotional connection between people and lifelike machines, and seeking to influence technology design and policy direction. Her 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, Kate has a background in law and economics. 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. Since the establishment of the MIT/BU technology and cyberlaw clinic in September 2016, she has served on the oversight board for the MIT/BU law clinics.

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 … View full description

Dr. Kate Darling is a leading expert in Robot Ethics and also the Media Lab's intellectual property policy advisor. Her passion is in investigating social robotics, exploring the emotional connection between people and lifelike machines, and seeking to influence technology design and policy direction. Her 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, Kate has a background in law and economics. 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. Since the establishment of the MIT/BU technology and cyberlaw clinic in September 2016, she has served on the oversight board for the MIT/BU law clinics.

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 an 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 Vogue, The New Yorker, The Guardian, BBC, NPR, PBS, The Boston Globe, Forbes, CBC, WIRED, Boston Magazine, The Atlantic, Slate, Die Zeit, The Japan Times, and more. 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 is the caretaker for several domestic robots, including her Pleos Yochai, Peter, and Mr. Spaghetti. She tweets as @grok_ about eating cheerios for dinner.