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Thinkers50 in 50 Seconds with Kate Darling

All 50 Second Q&As

An expert in robot ethics, Darling is a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. Her work explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines and anticipates difficult questions that lawmakers, engineers, and the wider public will need to address as human-robot relationships evolve. She is the intellectual property policy advisor to the director of the MIT Media Lab.

What book are you currently reading?

Weapons of Math Destruction.

How do you describe what you do?


Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Wonder Woman.

What does success look like?

A well-balanced life.

What is your competitive advantage?

I don’t worry about not being taken seriously.

How do you keep your thinking fresh?

By reading science fiction and making friends with people outside of my area of expertise.

How much time do you spend traveling?

2-3 trips a month, sometimes more.

What is the secret of a great presentation?

Putting yourself in the shoes of your audience.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Take people’s advice selectively.

What is your next goal?

To write a book.

Describe yourself in three words.

Awkward, fun, intrepid.

Follow Kate’s latest thoughts @grok_ and check out her work at

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