For readers of The Second Machine Age or The Soul of an Octopus, a bold, exciting exploration of how building diverse kinds of relationships with robots―inspired by how we interact with animals―could be the key to making our future with robot technology work
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, suggesting 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 nonhumans, but also to one another.
Praise for the book
“This was a great read from start to finish. The author used fascinating examples throughout the book, many of which seemingly deserve entire books of their own to explore. Darling was honest when the situation called for it about her viewpoint and its limitations, though might have even been too humble as she is clearly an expert in her field. For anyone with even a passing interest in robots and or animals, this is a must-read.”
“Dr. Darling offers an insightful reframing for thinking about our relationship with robots and our future as collaborators. She also shows us that how we treat robots can teach us a lot about our own humanity.”
“Interesting perspective which sparked many conversations with friends and colleagues but I found the book to be repetitive.”
About the author
Forever interested in how technology intersects with society, Kate has a background in law & economics and 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. She currently serves as an 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 began to work at the intersection of law and robotics, with a focus on legal and social issues. Kate 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.
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 was a contributing writer to Robohub and IEEE Spectrum and currently 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.