#98 – Kate Darling: Emotional Connection Between Humans and Robots

Kate Darling is a researcher at MIT, interested in social robotics, robot ethics, and generally how technology intersects with society. She explores the emotional connection between human beings and life-like machines, which for me, is one of the most exciting topics in all of artificial intelligence.

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Kate’s Website: http://www.katedarling.org/
Kate’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/grok_

This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast. If you would like to get more information about this podcast go to https://lexfridman.com/ai or connect with @lexfridman on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Medium, or YouTube where you can watch the video versions of these conversations. If you enjoy the podcast, please rate it 5 stars on Apple Podcasts, follow on Spotify, or support it on Patreon.

Here’s the outline of the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time.

00:00 – Introduction
03:31 – Robot ethics
04:36 – Universal Basic Income
06:31 – Mistreating robots
17:17 – Robots teaching us about ourselves
20:27 – Intimate connection with robots
24:29 – Trolley problem and making difficult moral decisions
31:59 – Anthropomorphism
38:09 – Favorite robot
41:19 – Sophia
42:46 – Designing robots for human connection
47:01 – Why is it so hard to build a personal robotics company?
50:03 – Is it possible to fall in love with a robot?
56:39 – Robots displaying consciousness and mortality
58:33 – Manipulation of emotion by companies
1:04:40 – Intellectual property
1:09:23 – Lessons for robotics from parenthood
1:10:41 – Hope for future of robotics